by Guy Page
At the June 29 press conference, Gov. Phil Scott and Health Commissioner Mark Levine were asked about the degree and motivation of ‘vaccine resistance’ in Vermont, and the option of non-vaccine therapies including ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine. The following is a transcript (conversation begins at about one hour, 15 minute mark.)
Guy Page, Vermont Daily: Governor, Commissioner Levine said today anyone who’s not vaccinated is at risk and that relatively few Vermonters are vaccine resistant. I personally know dozens, maybe even hundreds, of quote-unquote vaccine-resistant Vermonters who are concerned about long-term health risks of vaccination and are pursuing other means of protection. So I’m wondering if in addition to vaccination would you or Commissioner Levine also publicly advocate for non-vaccine therapies such as ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine .
Scott: that’s probably above my pay grade at this point. I know vaccines work. I had one. I was vaccinating myself. I don’t know if you were, Guy, or not. But I go to where the numbers are, the data, and the science shows me that vaccines are effective, they’re safe and and we’ve seen how we benefited in this state as a result. So I’ll keep going back to that. But I’ll let Dr. Levine weigh in on the other.
Levine on vaccine skeptics: With regard to the first part, we’re not just saying there aren’t that many Vermonters who are totally resistant to getting the vaccine. We’re using some national survey data, we’re using some New York Times data, to try to put that together as best we can. But it does seem like Vermont in stark comparison to many other states does have a much lower percentage of people who would fall in the vaccine skeptic, vaccine-resistant category. Doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Perhaps the circles you’re in, you know more of them than the average Vermonter might know, but either way, statistically speaking across the state it’s certainly not the big portion of the 90-100,000 we were talking about earlier.
Levine on ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine: With regard to these therapies, these drugs are used both in therapy, meaning treatment for someone who chose to be unvaccinated and got [Covid] versus trying to prevent becoming a case at all. I don’t really want to comment on hydroxychloroquine at all, because I think that has been really discarded, and that the risk benefit ratio is markedly in favor of risk not benefit.
With regard to ivermectin, I do believe that there is some data out there. The problem is most of the data out there is anecdotal or comes from smaller studies. When you start looking at some of the clinical trials that have been performed, it doesn’t fare as well and specifically in the situation of prevention as opposed to treatment it’s certainly not been embraced by most of the treatment community, though there are notable exceptions that are very prominent on the internet. But from the evidence-based medicine scientific community it has not fared as well, especially in the area of prevention.
If I were a Vermonter who was trying to weigh the potential risks and benefits of getting a vaccine versus taking a drug that frankly – a drug that hasn’t had a lot of utility and human treatments in the past in a very select way – I would choose the vaccine because we now have much more [information] than we ever get from clinical trials of drugs. We have millions and millions of people experienced and we know that the benefit risk ratio is way weighted towards benefit.