Priest mourns devotee hospitalized with ivermectin

(AP archive photo)

SINGAPORE – The parish priest of the Church of the Risen Christ on Monday evening (October 4) said he was saddened by reports that one of the church’s worshipers had been hospitalized after consuming ivermectin, a antiparasitic drug to prevent infection with COVID-19, and warned against the use of such unproven therapies.

Her post came a day after Facebook user Vanessa Koh Wan Ling alleged her mother obtained and took the drug, popularized by a number of U.S. conservative media as a cure for coronavirus disease, on the advice from other devotees. Ivermectin is commonly used as a dewormer for horses.

According to Koh’s post, the unnamed woman suffered from several ailments after taking the drug, including the inability to walk and stand, and was sent to hospital.

The woman believed that the MRNA technology, on which the Singapore National Immunization Campaign vaccines were based, “was against their religion. That if they were allowed to take (MRNA vaccines), Jesus would contact them directly” and that “ivermectin will help purge the vaccine and COVID.”

Pastor Edward Lim called on “everyone to protect themselves from the COVID-19 virus by taking the officially prescribed security measures available to them” in his Facebook post on Monday evening.

“Only accept vaccines approved by the authorities that are made available in accredited centers authorized to administer the vaccines,” he added.

He quoted Archbishop William Goh, head of the Roman Catholic Church in Singapore, in a pastoral letter dated February 3.

Goh had in the letter shared his experience of receiving his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and had encouraged “all devotees to be vaccinated for the greater good of the community.”

But Lim also noted that the decision to get the vaccine “remains a personal choice,” which cannot be forced upon an individual.

“We encourage each individual to pray and discern the decision, taking into account their own health situation and vulnerability, as well as social responsibility to loved ones and friends,” he added.

The World Health Organization and other medical experts have advised against the use of ivermectin outside of carefully controlled patient studies. Large studies are now underway in the United States and other countries to determine whether the drug has an effect on preventing or mitigating COVID-19.

Yahoo News Singapore has contacted the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) for comment.

The HSA said in September that ivermectin is not approved for use in the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 here. He added that authorities take seriously those engaged in the illegal sale and supply of drugs, including ivermectin.

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