Supervisor of Elections: Article in Florida Politics is ‘misleading’

CHIPLEY – Washington County Supervisor of Elections Carol Finch Rudd recently reacted to a September 1 article by Florida Politics that scrutinized a social media post Rudd shared detailing her use of the antiparasitic drug ivermectin.

The article, written by Renzo Downey, specifically referenced posts and comments made by Rudd in August that shared her familyÂ’s experience with the drug, one of which included a dosing chart from the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC), a non-profit organization that admits it is not a peer-reviewed journal but describes itself as “dedicated to developing highly effective treatment protocols to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 and to improve the outcomes for patients ill with the disease.” The organization also gives a disclaimer on its website explaining ivermectin is not a substitute for preventive measures, stating, “Patients using the preventive protocols should follow all measures recommended by public health authorities, including social distancing, masking and vaccinations as appropriate.”

Rudd states she ordered the drug from Amazon after researching its uses.

Rudd’s post that was accompanied by the dosing chart was later removed by Facebook for “violating community standards,” prompting criticism from Rudd for censorship: “My post got removed where I shared information regarding medicine that is currently being prescribed!” she exclaimed in an August 15 post. “Seriously?? If you saw it, share it to those you love if you choose. COVID is real and doesn’t pick and choose. If it were my family, I would [be] thankful you shared. Then We could make our own decisions.”

“Just because Facebook took it down, was it truly inaccurate information? On whose opinion?” Rudd later mused in an interview with Washington County News on Thursday. “We’re just letting whoever runs Facebook say that it’s bad information.”

Rudd, who declined to disclose whether she took a prescribed human formulation or ordered the animal formulation, stated that as with choosing whether to take the COVID-19 vaccine, individuals should also have the choice whether to take ivermectin.

“I don’t have any regrets in anyone knowing that we used it personally, but I think everyone should do their own research; just like with anything else, be cautious,” she said. “I think we need to stop depending on the government. We have to see what works best for our own specific situation, our own specific health. I am not a medical professional, so of course, everyone needs to do their own research. At the end of the day, what’s right for me may not be right for someone else. No one knows your own health better than you.”

Rudd added that she believes while the Florida Politics article – titled ‘Washington County elections supervisor promotes ivermectin on personal Facebook’ – “wasn’t inaccurate,” it was still “misleading” and “frustrating.”

“First, the headline was misleading,” she said. “I wasn’t promoting ivermectin; I was merely sharing my family’s experience. I stand by what I said, as well as that people have to make up their mind about what is best for their own wellbeing.”

“Also, the article is another example of politicizing the pandemic,” she added. “That was so frustrating.” The article cited Rudd’s status as a Republican, as well as that she carried 80.2% of the votes in the 2020 election, noting that percentage as “a larger share than then-President Donald Trump received in the county.” “The party division is a problem,” said Rudd. “This is about health, not politics.”

Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report an increase in calls to poison control centers for ivermectin-related concerns.

“In 2021, poison control centers across the U.S. received a three-fold increase in the number of calls for human exposures to ivermectin in January 2021 compared to the pre-pandemic baseline,” stated the CDC in a press release. “In July 2021, ivermectin calls continued to sharply increase, to a five-fold increase from baseline … In some cases, people have ingested ivermectin-containing products purchased without a prescription, including topical formulations and veterinary products. Veterinary formulations intended for use in large animals such as horses, sheep, and cattle can be highly concentrated and result in overdoses when used by humans. Animal products may also contain inactive ingredients that have not been evaluated for use in humans.”

The CDC states clinical effects of ivermectin overdose can include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Overdoses are associated with hypotension and neurologic effects such as decreased consciousness, confusion, hallucinations, seizures, coma, and death. 

Florida Poison Control Centers reports that a total of 39 patients were treated for ivermectin exposure in August, most of which involved ivermectin made for livestock.

“We are seeing a spike in cases related to ivermectin, a deworming medication,” stated the agency in a recent Tweet. “…Ivermectin has not been authorized or approved by FDA for treatment or prevention of COVID-19.”

The FLCCC also expressed concerns about the use of animal ivermectin formulations in humans, noting that while it disagrees with the Food and Drug AdministrationÂ’s current stance that human formulations should not be recommended for treating COVID-19, it does support the FDAÂ’s direction that humans should never take formulations meant for animals. 

“We cannot recommend veterinary formulations given the lack of safety data around their use,” stated the organization on its website, stressing instead its goal of having healthcare agencies approve and recommend use of the human formulations.”

Rudd, who was raised in the agriculture-heavy Panhandle she serves, reiterates the need for individuals to research and take charge of their own health.

“Additionally, we shouldn’t hesitate to ask for a second opinion,” said Rudd. “This is uncharted territory, even for our healthcare providers. I urge everyone to research and do what’s best for you and your family.”