Physician makes false claims about COVID-19 vaccines and treatment

A cardiologist who opposes vaccines and has a large social media platform spoke to the Arizona Senate Novel Coronavirus Southwestern Intergovernmental Committee. In his speech, he falsely claimed that COVID-19 vaccines have caused mass deaths. He also falsely claimed that ivermectin is a safe and effective treatment for COVID-19.

Recommendation: These types of false claims may discourage patients from getting the updated COVID-19 vaccine and may encourage patients to seek out dangerous, unproven treatments for COVID-19, especially when the claims are coming from a medical professional. False claims that COVID-19 vaccines cause excess deaths have been repeatedly debunked. A 2023 analysis that found that higher COVID-19 vaccination coverage was associated with lower all-cause mortality rates across 178 countries. The CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccines for everyone 6 months and older. Although ivermectin is FDA-approved to treat certain infections caused by parasites, it has been proven ineffective and is not FDA-approved to treat COVID-19,  and taking ivermectin for off-label purposes can result in poisoning. The CDC recommends antiviral treatments that have been tested, proven effective, and determined to be safe.