November 2, 2021

Following a summertime surge, Japan’s COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have quickly plummeted, and while experts say vaccines were key to the turnaround, false claims say the opposite.

“Japan drops vax rollout,” says the headline of an article published Oct. 17 by the Hal Turner Radio Show. The headline also says the country “goes to Ivermectin, ENDS COVID almost overnight.”

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

Japan did not stop its COVID-19 vaccine rollout. The day after the claim was published, the country administered nearly 600,000 COVID-19 vaccines. And ivermectin is not approved by the Japanese government as a medicine to treat COVID-19.

Japan’s vaccine rollout was very slow compared with the United States and Britain, with vaccination of those over age 65 beginning in mid-April and most people under age 65 not becoming eligible for vaccination until June 21. The rollout also hit road bumps, making headlines when a batch of Moderna vaccine had to be recalled because of contamination.

But Japan’s vaccination rate now has surpassed both the U.S. and Britain. As of Oct. 28, 71% of Japan’s population had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, a rate that puts it among the top three in the Group of Seven nations.

In the past two months, Japan has seen COVID-19 cases drop from a high of more than 20,000 a day in August to about 300 per day in late October. As of Oct. 13, the country had 4 cases per 100,000 people. Hospitalizations are now around 3,000 after hitting a high of more than 230,000 in August.

Experts say the high vaccination rate and universal mask-wearing were key to the turnaround. Other factors included the public’s cooperation during the recent surge in cases.

Our ruling

An article published by the Hal Turner Radio Show said, “Japan drops vax rollout.”

Japan did not stop its COVID-19 vaccine rollout. The country administered hundreds of thousands of doses on the day after the claim was published. More than 71% of the country’s population had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Oct. 28.

Ivermectin was not a factor in the country’s recent turnaround in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations and is not approved by the Japanese government as a medicine to treat COVID-19.

We rate this claim Pants on Fire!

This fact check was originally published by PolitiFact, which is part of the Poynter Institute. It is republished here with permission. See the sources for this fact check here and more of their fact checks here.

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Monique Curet is a contributing writer for PolitiFact. She has worked as a reporter covering business, agribusiness, medicine and police at The Columbus Dispatch and…
Monique Curet

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