Did Japan drop its vaccine program in favor of ivermectin, wiping out COVID-19 in one month? No, that's not true: While coronavirus cases plummeted in Japan after peaking in the second half of August, 2021, it had nothing to do with the anti-parasitic medicine. Instead, Japanese officials credit an aggressive vaccination campaign.
The claim appeared in an article on the Hal Turner Radio Show website on October 27, 2021, titled, "Japan drops vax rollout, goes to Ivermectin, ENDS COVID almost overnight" (archived here). It opened:
The ongoing COVID-19 nonsense here in the United States exists solely and exclusively because our governments have failed to use the correct treatment. They used so-called 'vaccines' when Japan has just proven, in less than ONE MONTH, that Ivermectin can wipe out the disease.
This is what the article looked like on the Hal Turner Radio Show website on October 29, 2021:
(Source: Hal Turner Radio Show website screenshot taken on Fri Oct 29 14:45:43 UTC 2021)
There is no evidence on Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare website that its COVID-19 vaccine program has been dropped. In fact, full pages in Japanese and English are dedicated to vaccine particulars, including how to get vaccinated, vaccination sites and details about the vaccines. The shots are free of charge to anyone eligible:
The costs of vaccination is free for all Japanese citizens and all eligible foreign residents in Japan. The municipality in which you reside will send you a 'Vaccination voucher' and a 'COVID-19 vaccine notification.' Vaccines will be supplied gradually, and the eligibility are prioritized based on age and other factors. The vaccine is administered only with the recipient's consent.
Japan's vaccine push extends to the prime minister's website, which spells out everything from the benefits of vaccination to government efforts to ensure its safety.
Japan's COVID vaccine minister Taro Kono released a video on June 17, 2021, calling the vaccines "our trump card in bringing an end to COVID-19 pandemic."
As of October 28, 2021, 187,865,740 vaccine doses had been administered in Japan, according to the Japanese prime minister's website. Nearly 70% of Japan's population was fully vaccinated, the Associated Press reported on October 18, 2021, compared to nearly 58% of Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Lead Stories could find no endorsement of ivermectin as a treatment for the virus on the health ministry's website. The CDC issued a health advisory warning against the use of ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19 on August 26, 2021, that says:
Ivermectin is not authorized or approved by FDA for prevention or treatment of COVID-19. The National Institutes of Health's (NIH) COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel has also determined that there are currently insufficient data to recommend ivermectin for treatment of COVID-19.
The warning came as calls to poison control centers reporting overdoses have increased and more people reported experiencing adverse effects from ivermectin.
The drop in Japan's COVID cases has been notable. Since peaking at 25,851 on August 19, 2021, newly confirmed cases had fallen to 268 on October 27, 2021. That's a drop of nearly 99%.
(Source: Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare website screenshot taken on Fri Oct 29 16:01:38 UTC 2021)
Lead Stories is reaching out to the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare for its reaction to the claims and will add the ministry's response when it's available.