Change the law to get ivermectin? No, just get vaccinated already

York Dispatch editorial board

There's a gaping chasm in logic going on here.

On the one hand, we have people who, a year after it became widely available in the U.S., refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccine, even after it has been fully approved, using spurious arguments about the potential for long-term effects or citing ludicrous, disproven conspiracy theories about microchips and magnetism.

In the same hand, we have the same people who, not being vaccinated and also refusing to take precautions such as wearing masks and social distancing, are infected with COVID-19 and clamoring loudly to take drugs such as ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine that have not been approved for treating COVID-19. 

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And now, to put even more weight onto that same hand, we have local politicians also clamoring to allow doctors to prescribe those drugs for uses not sanctioned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 

State Rep. Dawn Keefer has introduced a bill that would allow for the use of therapeutic drugs "without the threat of punitive action from the state" so long as the drug was prescribed and is being taken with the patient's consent.

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“Patients deserve the same opportunities others have already experienced," Keefer, R-Carroll Township, said in a written statement.

The problem is, those "opportunities" are to be test subjects in an unregulated clinical trial to use prescription drugs in a manner they were not developed for.

Current state law doesn't allow Pennsylvania prescribers to give drugs to patients unless those drugs have been approved to treat the condition the patient has.

Rep. Dawn Keefer discusses concerns as York County Commissioners meet with state lawmakers and poll workers to discuss last weeks election as well as  address necessary improvements needed for future elections, at the York County Administrative Center in York City, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019. Dawn J. Sagert photo

So while the FDA has approved hydroxychloroquine sulfate to treat malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis and ivermectin to treat parasitic worms, head lice and certain skin conditions, neither can be prescribed for treating COVID-19.

And there's a reason for that. 

While the FDA has tested hydroxychloroquine's use against COVID-19, an emergency use authorization was revoked after clinical trials showed reports of serious heart rhythm problems and other safety issues, including blood and lymph system disorders, kidney injuries and liver problems and failure.

And while there have been trials run on treating COVID-19 with ivermectin, the safety and efficacy hasn't been established, no matter what your uncle's neighbor's son-in-law posted on his Facebook wall.

"Currently, FDA has not authorized or approved ivermectin for use in preventing or treating COVID-19 in humans," Chanapa Tantibanchachai, an FDA spokesperson, wrote in an email to the nonprofit fact finder PolitiFact in January. "To date, published clinical trials have shown mixed results."

Ivermectin. (Dreamstime/TNS)

On the other hand, there's this extremely safe method of protecting yourself from becoming very ill from COVID-19. 

Vaccination. One shot now, another shot in two weeks. 

The vaccines are proven safe and effective at keeping people alive and out of the hospital. Do they completely eliminate the risk of infection? No, but that's not what any vaccine does. The point of vaccines is to keep people from becoming sick. And the COVID-19 vaccines do that very well. 

Also, you don't need a court order to be allowed to get the shots. You don't have to pay a lawyer or buy formulas that are meant for livestock. 

Vaccines are free, safe, easy to find and already legal. Come over to the side of logic and science. And put down the horse dewormer.