SC infectious disease expert cautions against vaccine misinformation

Coronavirus

FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) — US Rep. Tom Rice took to Facebook Friday to criticize the Horry County Republican Party for promoting ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19.

In his post, he called advocating for the drug “insane.” Michelle King, the corporate director of infection prevention and control at McLeod Health System said promoting alternatives to the COVID-19 vaccine is dangerous.

“To put out false information like that is doing a disservice to their constituents,” King said. “They are actually putting them at risk.” She said treatments exist that can help keep unvaccinated people from going to the ER, but ivermectin is not one of them.

“Mostly where people are getting this ivermectin from is feed stores where they sell it for animal use,” King said. “Ivermectin would do nothing to the virus. It does not treat the virus in any way, shape or form.”

She said political organizations are not the only ones spreading misinformation.

“For example, the thing that was on TV recently with Nicki Minaj and her cousin,” King said. “Why don’t you go to the CDC website and look at the list of adverse reactions? Is that on the list of adverse reactions?”

She blames much of the vaccine hesitancy on a debunked study linking vaccinations to autism.

“I laugh sometimes, but it’s really sad because the healthcare system is fighting so hard,” King said.

She said the most reliable sources for information on COVID-19 and the vaccines are the websites CDC.gov and WHO.int.

In a statement, the Horry County GOP said Rice’s post was hypocritical, as he promotes vaccination but said the party should not promote alternatives. They said they did not advocate for ivermectin, they just shared information. They also said the decision to vaccinate is a personal one.

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