A durian that has fallen onto netting at a farm in Malaysia's Pahang state. ( AFP / Mohd RASFAN)

Malaysian authorities rubbish posts linking 'Covid-19 vaccine death' to eating durian

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Facebook users in Malaysia are sharing posts that warn against eating durian before or after receiving a Covid-19 jab because it can be "fatal". Some of the posts share a photo of a man who purportedly died a day after he was vaccinated because he ate the fruit. The claim is false. The Malaysian deputy health minister said the warning has no medical basis, while police told AFP a post-mortem examination found the man died from heart disease.

The claim was shared on June 22, 2021, on Facebook here.

The Chinese-language post reads: "Tell family and friends not to eat durian before or after vaccination. The friend of a person in my garden was vaccinated, and died the next day after eating durian. It is necessary to know and better to be cautious. Life is precious, and it's a pity to lose life due to a moment of ignorance."

Screenshot of the misleading Facebook post taken on July 13, 2021

The claim was also shared on Facebook in Chinese here and in Malaysian here.

Some posts, including here, here and here, share a photo of a man wearing a pink T-shirt, claiming it shows the man who was vaccinated and purportedly died after consuming durian.

However, the claims are false.

"Medically speaking, no one has said that. Even in the medical books, it has never been raised that people should not eat durian after getting their vaccine. This is wrong," said Malaysian Deputy Health Minister Noor Azmi Ghazali, reported by local media here and here.

Malaysia’s Ministry of Health (KKM) posted on June 23, 2021, rejecting the claim as "false news".

The statement was also shared on its official Facebook page here.

The man in the photo was identified as Cheah Kum Seng , 49, who lost consciousness while buying food at a restaurant and was later pronounced dead at a hospital in Kuala Lumpur on June 21, 2021, according to local news reports here and here.

In a media statement sent to AFP on July 26, 2021, Sentul district police chief, Assistant Commisioner Beh Eng Lai, said: "A post-mortem examination was conducted on June 22, 2021, and the cause of death was 'ischemic heart disease'. The case is classified as sudden death."