FACT CHECK: Did Japan Halt Its COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout And Switch To Ivermectin Instead?
A post shared on Instagram claims Japan halted its COVID-19 vaccine “rollout” and switched to using ivermectin to combat the spread of the virus.
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Japan continues to administer COVID-19 vaccines. Ivermectin is not listed as being approved to treat the COVID-19 in Japan.
The image shared on Instagram shows a screen grab of a headline from an Oct. 27 article published by the Hal Turner Radio Show that reads, “Japan drops vax rollout, goes to Ivermectin, ENDS COVID almost overnight.” (RELATED: Does This Video Show A French Doctor Being Arrested For Prescribing Ivermectin?)
There is, however, no evidence that Japan has stopped distributing or administering COVID-19 vaccines. The country continues to administer tens of thousands of doses of the various COVID-19 vaccines every day, according to Reuter’s vaccination tracker, which notes that the Japanese government has so far administered over 190 million doses of the vaccines. The New York Times reported Japan has fully vaccinated 73 percent of its population against COVID-19, with 78 percent of the population having received at least one dose, making it one of the most vaccinated countries in the world.
Likewise, ivermectin, a drug used to treat some parasitic diseases, has not been approved to treat COVID-19 in the country. It is not found on Japan’s Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices Agency’s list of approved COVID-19 treatments. While some doctors have touted the drug as an effective way to treat COVID-19, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration states on its website that current data does not show the drug to be an effective treatment of COVID-19.
The notion that COVID-19 has been eradicated in Japan “almost overnight” is also inaccurate. While positive cases in the country are down significantly from summer highs, there are still hundreds of positive cases reported every day, according to Reuters.
The Hal Turner Radio Show article cites as evidence of its claims media reports about Japanese health authorities halting 1.6 million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine over contamination concerns in August. This move came after unspecified containments were found in dozens of doses of the vaccine at eight locations across the country, according to The New York Times. There is, however, no evidence that this development led to the country halting all its COVID-19 vaccination efforts. COVID-19 vaccines produced by AstraZeneca and Pfizer, which are both authorized for use in Japan, were unaffected by the temporary suspension of the Moderna vaccine. Use of the Moderna vaccine, which is also authorized for use in Japan, has since resumed in the country, according to The Japan Times.
The article also cites comments made by Haruo Ozaki, chairman of the Tokyo Metropolitan Medical Association, who has recommended the use of ivermectin for treatment of COVID-19, according to the Japanese-language news website nikkei.com. The association is a non-government entity, however, and there is no evidence Ozaki’s recommendation has been adopted by Japan’s health ministry.