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Andy Nguyen
By Andy Nguyen September 14, 2021

Japan has not approved ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment, and it's still using Moderna vaccine

If Your Time is short

  • The Tokyo Medical Association is a professional organization that’s not affiliated with the government, and can only make policy recommendations.
  • Ivermectin is not listed by the Japanese government as an approved medication to treat COVID-19.
  • A batch of the Moderna vaccine had to be recalled in Japan because of a contamination issue, but it remains an approved vaccine and is being used.

In a 30-second video on Instagram, a woman made several inaccurate statements regarding Japan's response to the pandemic and its use of the Moderna vaccine.

The caption: "Japan says goodbye Moderna, hello ivermectin."

"It was just a few days ago that the Tokyo chairman of the Medical Association made the recommendation to hospitals and doctors to discontinue using Moderna, and to begin prescribing ivermectin to all COVID patients," she says.

She cites "tremendous results" in India, Mexico, Argentina and parts of Bangladesh as proof of ivermectin’s effectiveness.

"Honestly, I’m guessing the metal contaminants they found in many of the bottles had something to do with it, too," the woman says at the end of the video.

This take joined similar claims about Japan’s alleged switch to ivermectin on the internet. The anti-parasitic has gained popularity in recent months, especially in the U.S., as an alternative to the COVID-19 vaccines, even though U.S. health agencies have not approved ivermectin as a coronavirus treatment and have warned against its misuse.

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. Instagram owns Facebooks. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) 

While the chairman of the Tokyo Medical Association, Haruo Ozaki, has recommended the use of ivermectin on COVID-19 patients, neither he nor the organization is associated with the Japanese government.

The group is akin to the American Medical Association in the United States. It can make suggestions, but cannot enact government policies, according to its parent organization, the Japan Medical Association.

Ivermectin is not listed by the Japanese government as an approved medicine to treat COVID-19.

Moderna, on the other hand, remains an approved vaccine in Japan, along with Pfizer and AstraZeneca.

Although there have been studies into the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 patients, they’re far away from the "tremendous results" cited in the Instagram video.

PolitiFact has previously found many of the studies lacked scientific standing. The studies used small sample sizes and, in one case, had a clear conflict of interest where researchers were linked to a group that lobbied for ivermectin to be used as a treatment

While at least three men in Japan have died several days after receiving a dose of the Moderna vaccine, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has not found a link between the vaccinations and deaths.

The country’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare had to recall more than 1.6 million doses of the vaccine in late August after multiple vials were found contaminated with black particles.  

More than 3,700 people were vaccinated using the contaminated vials, but none have reported any health issues, according to the BBC. The three men’s vaccinations were not from the contaminated vials, and their deaths are still under investigation, the Japan Times reported.

Our ruling

An Instagram user claimed Japan has dropped its use of the Moderna vaccine in favor of using ivermectin to treat the coronavirus after two people died following their vaccinations.

The Japanese professional association that recommended ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment has no power to enact policy changes for the country. 

There has also been no conclusive evidence linking the Moderna vaccine to the deaths of three Japanese men. While more than 1.6 million doses of the Moderna vaccine were recalled because of contamination issues, Japan continues to administer shots of the Moderna vaccine. 

We rate the claim that Japan said "goodbye Moderna, hello ivermectin" Mostly False.

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More by Andy Nguyen

Japan has not approved ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment, and it's still using Moderna vaccine

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