As Covid-19 surges to its highest levels yet, Mississippians, in apparently large numbers, are going to their local feed store and buying a live- stock dewormer, Ivermectin, rather than going to a health provider and getting the vaccine.

A check with local livestock supply stores indicates numbers of George Countians have been buying Ivermectin to use either to prevent a Covid-19 infection or treat the illness. One local store owner, who asked not to be identified, said people were buying the animal medication even though there were signs in the store saying that it was for livestock use only.

“We had one woman come in and buy it be- cause she said she was tired of her children getting sick, even though we warned her not to use it. She didn’t even know how to get it out of the bottle or an appropriate dosage.”

Ivermectin is a medication that is used to treat parasite infestations. In humans, this includes head lice, scabies, river blindness (onchocerciasis), strongyloidiasis, trichuriasis, ascariasis, and lymphatic filariasis. In veterinary medicine, it is used to prevent and treat heartworm and acariasis, among other indications. It can be taken by mouth or applied to the skin for external infestations.

On Friday last week, Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs issued a warning against using Ivermectin in place of getting the Covid-19 vaccination. He claimed the Mississippi disease control center was receiving numerous reports about people getting poisoned by the medication. The CDC has also issued warning against using the medication.

Mississippi, along with Alabama, has the lowest Covid vaccination rates in the nation – around 36 percent of the population, even in the face of government ad campaigns and media stories begging people to get vaccinated. Mississippi Department of Health statistics show almost all of the new infections of Covid-19 and the Delta variant are people who have not been vaccinated. Almost all the deaths are people who have not been vaccinated.

Mississippi is now suffering one of the highest infection rates of the now 20-month long pandemic. On Monday, August 23, there were 3,291 new cases of the disease reported statewide with 41 deaths reported for the five-day period of August 19 and August 23.

Perhaps Dr. Dobbs and government officials at both the state and federal level should be asking themselves a couple of questions. Why would Mississippians choose an animal deworming medicine over a vaccine for humans? And, why would Mississippians choose not to be vaccinated in the first place.

Social media may be partially to blame. You can go on Facebook and read all kinds of posts both pro and con about the vaccine, the effectiveness of Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine and other therapeutics from supposed experts to the point you don’t know what to believe. You might even be led to believe the vaccine might have long-term adverse effects or even kill you.

Perhaps it is because the vaccine is seen as less than effective. One George County woman, who asked not to be identified, said she was not afraid to the vaccine. “But what is the point?,” she asked naming several people she knew who had been vaccinated and still got the disease.

Or, is it because a significant number of people have lost trust in political leaders and public health officials. The federal government’s point man on the pandemic, Dr. Fauci has been repeatedly in- consistent on his claims about the disease. Apparently more concerned with his 15 minutes of fame than guiding people through a pandemic he has famously said masking was ineffective to pro- moting masking and then promoting double and triple masking. He has also been inconsistent in predicting the percent of the population needed to take the vaccine for the population to reach herd immunity, increasing that number from 70 to about 80 percent.

Political leaders, too, have been inconsistent. During the 2020 Presidential campaign, candidates Kamala Harris and Joe Biden questioned the safeness and effectiveness of any vaccine developed during the Trump administration, and then turn around after their election and support the vaccine and vaccine mandates.

Media outlets such as cable news and talk radio have been similarly inconsistent. Pick your flavor and you will hear stories ranging from the ineffectiveness of masking and the vaccine to not using them is akin to traitorous.

To the lay person, re- moving the politics and the bias from the discussion, Ivermectin and the Covid-19 vaccine may work in somewhat similar ways, although the vaccine has undergone extensive clinical trials and the trials for Ivermectin are few in number, small, and have had mixed results.

For the Covid 19 virus to make you sick, it must first infect your cells. Then while inside the cell, the virus replicates itself, so it can spread around your body. The virus also has ways of reducing the way your body fights the infection, according to a medically reviewed article on During the infection of the cell, some viral proteins go into the cell nucleus, and from here they can decrease the body’s ability to fight the virus, which me which means the infection can get worse. To get into the nucleus the viral proteins need to bind a cargo transporter which lets them in. Ivermectin can block the cargo transporter, so the viral proteins can’t get into the nucleus. This is how the scientists believe Ivermectin works against SARS-CoV-2 virus. By taking Ivermectin, it means the body can fight the infection like normal, because its anti- viral response hasn’t been reduced by the viral proteins.

This vaccine is different from previous vaccines. Rather than use a dead virus to cause your body to manufacture anti-bodies, this vaccine causes your cells to make proteins on cell surfaces. These, in turn cause your body to produce the anti-bodies blocking the Covid virus from entering the cells.

The “new” vaccines have undergone extensive testing in humans over a number of years, although the specific “code” for Covid-19 is only a few months old.

The upshot of all this is people should consult their own medical provider and follow that per- son’s advice

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