A claim on social media that Australian hospitals are treating vaccinated COVID-19 patients with anti-parasitic drug ivermectin is false, a spokesperson for the country’s therapeutic regulatory agency has told Reuters.
He alleges that local hospitals are offering exclusive treatment to COVID-19 patients who are vaccinated against the disease to maintain a narrative that vaccines are effective.
“This is the information I received from very, very reliable sources,” the man says in the clip. “Hospitals now, if you’ve got COVID-19 and have been either single shot or double shot, they treat you with ivermectin.
“Even though the TGA [Therapeutic Goods Administration] has banned ivermectin for use outside the hospital, in the hospitals they are using ivermectin to treat the vaccinated people.
“Why? So they can say: ‘Look, if you’re vaccinated, you recover quicker.’”
The man goes on to claim that this means “this vaccine doesn’t do anything whatsoever”; rather, “ivermectin is what’s working”.
He adds: “You’ve got as much chance of dying from the Delta variant – whether you’re vaccinated or not.”
However, these claims are false.
In an email to Reuters, a TGA spokesperson said there was no evidence of Australian hospitals treating COVID-19 patients with ivermectin and pointed to a statement from the agency on Sept. 10 on new restrictions for prescribing the oral drug.
The statement says general practitioners can only prescribe ivermectin for TGA-approved conditions, such as scabies and other specific parasitic infections.
Some specialists such as infectious disease physicians, dermatologists, gastroenterologists and hepatologists are also allowed to prescribe the medication for other unapproved conditions, if appropriate for a particular patient (here).
“The new restrictions on prescribing oral ivermectin do not specifically allow for it to be prescribed in hospitals for COVID-19, unless it is authorised for use in a clinical trial that has been approved by, or notified to, the Secretary of the Australian Government Department of Health,” the TGA spokesperson told Reuters.
Moreover, numerous studies have shown that COVID-19 vaccines offer strong protection against severe illness and death, even in the face of the highly transmissible Delta variant (here , here and here).
Australia has approved three vaccines for use: Cormirnaty, developed by Pfizer/BioNTech; Vaxzevria, developed by Oxford/AstraZeneca; and Spikevax, developed by Moderna (here).
In January, a small pilot study in Britain showed ivermectin could potentially reduce viral load and the duration of symptoms in some patients with mild COVID-19 (here); however, studies into its effectiveness are ongoing.
The World Health Organization, along with European and U.S. regulators, currently advise against using ivermectin to treat COVID-19. Some countries such as India have countered this recommendation (here and here).
False. Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) said there is no evidence that hospitals are treating COVID-19 patients with ivermectin.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.
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