Vermont allows and will monitor hydroxychloroquine as treatment for COVID-19 patients

Vermont allows hydroxychloroquine to be used to for coronavirus patients, but the state’s health commissioner does not currently endorse the antimalarial drug for the fight against COVID-19.

Less than two weeks ago, a top Yale health professor of epidemiology, Harvey Risch, wrote in Newsweek that doctors should use hydroxychloroquine for treating COVID-19. In his op-ed, he cited seven studies demonstrating its efficacy.

Another medical expert, Dr. Stephen Smith, a board certified infectious disease specialist and founder of the Smith Center for Infectious Diseases in New Jersey, has repeatedly claimed he has cured hundreds of coronavirus patients using the drug.

Hydroxychloroquine, sold under the brand name Plaquenil, among others, may be effective in the fight against COVID-19, according to some recent studies.

U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, who contracted the virus last week, said his doctor is treating him with hydroxychloroquine.

At a press conference Friday, Vermont Health Commissioner Mark Levine said the drug is an allowable treatment in the Green Mountain State, though it is not promoted as such.

“Any doctor has the right to access this drug if they wanted to order it,” he said. “So they could presumably prescribe it to a patient.”

He added that recent studies have come out that argue both for and against administering the drug for COVID patients.

“Like most things, there’s controversy, and the field is changing rapidly and the science is evolving rapidly,” Levine said. “If one looks at the science in the published studies, you can pick things out that will be on either side of the fence with hydroxychloroquine. However, most authorities are coming down that the weight of evidence has not yet shown it to be an effective treatment that is as safe as perhaps other treatments, especially in light of its cardiac effects.”

Levine said the state is making the experimental antiviral drug Remdesivir available instead.

state of Vermont

Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine

In April, noted that Remdesivir showed promise for COVID patients, but had serious side effects during clinical trials.

“About 25 percent of patients receiving it have severe side effects, including multiple-organ dysfunction syndrome, septic shock, acute kidney injury and low blood pressure. Another 23 percent demonstrated evidence of liver damage on lab tests,” their report states.

Gov. Phil Scott, who also addressed coronavirus issues at the press conference, reiterated that Vermont temporarily has the virus under control.

“We’ve had a fairly low prevalence of late of having to treat many COVID patients,” he said. “We’ve only had this week maybe two or three. … We have two in our hospitals right now being treated for COVID, one in ICU. So we don’t have a high prevalence at this point in time.”

Levine said health officials will continue to monitor studies on hydroxychloroquine.

“We work regularly with the scientific community within the state, people who prescribe these drugs all the time, and many who are involved in research engagements that are testing these drugs for other diseases,” he said. “So clearly, we wouldn’t put our head in the sand.”

FOX5 New York reported last month that a study of 2,541 hospitalized COVID patients, conducted by the Henry Ford Health System and published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases, found that hydroxychloroquine led to a higher survival rate.

An update on use of masks in Vermont

Scott was asked by reporters if private businesses have the right to set their own mask policies. The Republican governor said it’s up to each business to decide.

“That’s their prerogative — we want to leave it up to the businesses, certainly. But again, guidance and education is our first preference. We are not enforcing this at this point in time,” Scott said. “But again, we will continue to watch and make sure we are doing everything we can to provide for the needs of Vermonters.”

Over the weekend, Holland’s top scientists said no clear evidence exists to compel the public to wear masks. They added that mask mandates could even impede the effort to stop COVID-19.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of state of Vermont

31 thoughts on “Vermont allows and will monitor hydroxychloroquine as treatment for COVID-19 patients

  1. For those “independents” who claim to seek alternatives to Democrats/Progressives: What was the middle ground today was yesterday’s extreme left. You merely refuse to admit it or study the past. It’s time for you to get out of the middle (where the roadkill is) and make decisions. As far as I’m concerned, anyone who finds the the limiting of free speech & religious practice, teaching of Marxist dogma, restrictions on firearms, and the killing of children acceptable has already determined that they share the values of the very people with whom they claim to find problems. That means you’re not part of the solution, you hate what the United States represents, and you have no place in what should be the GOP traditionally. Until you can develop a conscience and morals, you’ll always be what you currently are.

  2. The only problem with ” Hydroxychloroquine ” is that President Trump mention it
    as a prophylactic to help combat the Wuhan Virus and the left went crazy or even
    crazier then usual !!

    HCQ is not the cure, but studies show that if taken at the begining of this virus it
    helps the body fight it off, This drug has been around over fifty years and used in
    every country and mostly handed out like M&M’s…………

    So the new wonder drug Remdesivir being pushed ( No cure ) cost $520 per vile,
    and a five day supply is $3,120 or HCQ two pills per day cost $37 per 100 tablets,
    lets follow the ” Money ” and who’s pockets are getting padded !!

    I’m glad to see Vermont’s Medical staff is up for supplying HCQ if requested by it

    Fight this Wuhan Virus and forget the hype, if you take any prescribed drugs today
    read the warning label…….. yeah.

    So some new wonder drug being pushed, or one that has been used for over fifty
    years and millions and millions of doses, with a proven record !!

    Some hate President Trump so much, they’ll put your life on the line, just watch
    the liberal news…………………

  3. And what about Dr. Stella Immanuel whose video Donald Trump Jr. declared a “must watch” and President Trump retweeted. Dr. Immanuel, one of America’s Front Line Doctors who appeared at the White Coat Summit organized by the Tea Party Patriots, says she has successfully treated hundreds of patients for Covid-19 with hydroxychloroquine and face masks are not needed. ” Hello, you don’t need a mask. There is a cure” she said.
    Of course she also has said that alien DNA is currently used in medical experiments and that scientist are cooking up a vaccine to keep people religious. She also believes that the government is run in part not by humans but by reptilians and disease can be caused by having sex with demons in your dreams.
    Perhaps what we need in regards to Covid-19 which has taken over 150,000 American lives is to treat it as a virus, not a political issue. We need to be open to all possible cures and mitigation strategies, and use science and testing to see which will be our best option.

    • So, what is the point? Even crazy people know hydroxychloroquine works? It would be totally awesome if we stuck with science, left out politics and propaganda to find the truth. No scientist ever wants to stop people from proving them right or wrong, it’s called the scientific method, used to prove and find the truth.

      Some how man has been able to survive millions of year and probably millions of viruses. Suddenly a virus that only kills 1% of the population is going to end the world.

      Yes more science, more questioning, more facts and research desperately needed.

      • Neil,
        The point is that if Trump, instead of making the pandemic all but himself and how it might affect his chance for a second term, had handled the Covid-19 crisis in the same manner science based manner as Governor Scott, Trump would have made a better case for his re-election as well as potentially saved many lives.
        In times of crisis people want and need a calm competent leader who is able to give clear consistent information, bring in a top notch team, listen to their advice and provide needed resources. Placing blame on others and promoting quacks is not leadership.

        • What a bunch of absolute disinformation and promotion of Mao Scott. There’s been plenty of data posted on TNR to show that treatments and procedures being quashed and censored by the mainstream media, the WHO, CDC, and governments are actually extremely effective in dealing with the Wuhan Flu. What your monologue asserts is that the President would have been better off acting under color of law, as did Scott.

        • Let’s never forget that Fauci and the WHO initially downplayed the virus, with Fauci saying that it’d be like a bad flu (and ironically, he’s right despite that he then turned around and said it’d be 10x worse.) Let’s never forget that Fauci and his term have ignored HCQ, not even bothering to test it despite claims made for its effectiveness.

          Trying to pin this on the president is bogus when the result for the vast majority of the US is very similar to what’s happened in Europe.

          Just because one doctor has unorthodox views doesn’t negate the 738 other physicians who also believe HCQ is useful in the treatment of Covid-19.

        • Scott to his credit is perhaps the only leader counting deaths properly. It’s a plandemic. If Scott had been science based he would have first protected the most vulnerable, to which every one knew about, those in nursing homes. He was way behind in this, all the while officials and Vt’s digger covering for him on this issue.

          Scott was lead by the WHO, closing everything down was not scientific, South Dakota, which last I knew had similar results and didn’t close down, now that’s leadership, problem solving and science.

          • Mao Scott??? What is discouraging for Independents like myself who have real issues with the Progressive/Democratic dominated legislature is how, what should be an effective Republican alternative for us to consider, is spinning off into ideological extremes . Not only that but it seems people would rather talk to each other reinforcing their own convictions than take part in running for elections. In may District and the one next door no Republicans are challenging the incumbents. This is the case in far too many Districts through out the State. What are people afraid of? Are your ideas not worthy of being put before the electorate? Still time for people of courage and conviction to get on the ballot as an Independent.

            By the way Neil, South Dakota is now allowing the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally to take place starting on August 7 and is expecting 250,000 people to converge on that small city. Perhaps not the wisest course considering the current spread of Covid-19

          • May I remind you that everyone has a constitutionally protected right to voice their opinion and do not need to qualify as a politician, run for political office or possess journalistic credentials to do so? And that we are citizens not subjects?

            And that if there was no TNR you wouldn’t be able to speak yours here in the VSSR as your Democrat friends are attempting to silence conservative voices ahead of their theft of the election.

            And to skirt rules concerning nonprofits have shut down comment platforms entirely – that means you too. What you in essence are saying is one cannot disagree w/you unless in terms you consider acceptable – which is nothing more than an authoritarian and thinly disguised dismissal of an opinion you do not agree with. And may I suggest you take your own advice? Why aren’t you running – again – as you already have plenty of experince running for office lol.

            Could it be some of us are unable to run for office as we have things to do and do not have the support necessary to exit our responsiblities? Are not suited to or interested in becoming a public figure or politician?

            And may I suggest you take your own advice. Why aren’t you running – again – as you already have plenty of experience running for office lol.

          • This is in response to Stardust below.
            One of the problems we have these days is making assumptions about the views and motivations of others. We also tend not to like to here from views of people who do not re-enforce our own preconceptions.
            If you re-read my post below, it was intended as a challenge and encouragement for people to run for office where there no opposition to incumbents. It is very easy to do this year since signed petitions are not needed to get on the ballot. Does have to be done I believe fairly soon. Important to do, even in a District like mine which is heavily Democratic.
            Finally after encouraging others to run and hoping in vain that the Republican Party would put up challengers to our two Democratic incumbents in our District, I did file over a week ago to run as an Independent. I am getting kinda old and have other civic and town responsibilities: Lions Club Secretary, Church Treasurer, Town Recreation Areas Manager and Lister as well as keeping up with my own gardens and orchard and seeing when I can in a limited way these days my five grandchildren living in Vermont, but do feel that you can not suggest to others what to do without being willing to do it yourself.
            Finally, I am deeply disappointed in VTDigger, Seven Days, and VPR for getting rid of their comment section. I have learned a lot over the years reading other’s opinions and their challenges of what is written. I have contact VTDigger and urged them to re-consider and offered possible changes. I am grateful to be allowed to post on this site. It appears that those reading it might have more ability to tolerate views that do not necessarily coincide with own.

          • Clearly stand in the stead of the Trump-hating Derangement Syndrome mob as well as a longtime Democrat party. While portraying self as Independent moderate are reliably critical of Trump carefully curating demeaning examples.

            Trump supported and retweeted what Dr Emmanuel said because he agreed with statement made lol? Comment completely ignores while glossing over overarching issue – fact that entire event and all comments were censored by Twitter, Youtube & Facebook bc they were all opposing the conventional foolishness – Dr Emmanuel was but one of the group.
            Watch Live: Frontline Physicians Aim to Dispel ‘Massive’ COVID-19 ‘Disinformation Campaign’

            Kindly spare the sanctimonius stupdity. Tho Dr Emmanuel has made comments which are likely tied to native cultural beliefs for which personally cannot vouch – how is that any more unusual than than the Democrat fetish for freakish theories and disturbing dark-side art depicting abuse to put it mildly and lengthy sordid history.

            Everpresent Dem nutjobs featuring frontrunner who can’t cohherently complete a sentence, displays Parkinson symptoms, whose brain is turning to fried jello due to advancing dementia so fast alarmed supporters are advising him to not debate? As such continual critiques of our president ring hollow.

          • Art Depicting Cannibalism Hangs In Podesta’s Campaign Office
            Dear CNN: Sometimes Our Opinions Just Don’t Matter
            By James Poniewozik May 7, 2014 2:29 PM EDT
            “Believe it or not, this is how Saturday’s Democratic debate ended.”
            Podesta and the President Continue to Talk About UFOs
            Paul Seaburn March 4, 2016

  4. I’ve heard that the inhaled steroid used for other respiratory illness is immediately effective and gives relief with in 12-24 hours. According to a doctor in Texas it has cured all his patients.

    It is the inhaled steroid Budesonide. Not sure if anyone is using this locally or what local doctors think of this.

    It is amazing that the internet giants don’t want information exchanged publicly for cures. I suspect there may be validity to this cure, because it is getting zero, absolutely zero coverage.

  5. On June 15, the FDA revoked emergency use authorization (EUA) for HCQ, siting evidence that it does no good and it may be harmful.

    It’s important for people to realize that many of the clinical trials using HCQ used excessive, near-lethal doses despite that there’s no rationale for these doses: no physician has used those doses in treating patients. Oftentimes the trials are done in sick, hospitalized patients, whereas the treatment has been found to be most effective in outpatients, before the disease overwhelms the body. These types of trials are, in my opinion, “trick” trials to mislead the public, because these trails don’t reflect the practices of the physicians using HCQ as an early treatment to prevent hospitalizations.

    The other type of “trick” trial is to find that HCQ doesn’t eliminate the virus so therefore it doesn’t work. No physician has claimed that HCQ eliminates the virus in “live” settings; they claim it eliminates disease symptoms, and as we know many people with the Covid-19 virus have either no symptoms (asymptomatic) or mild symptoms. The “test” to see if HCQ eliminates the virus or prevents the virus is a straw man test: set up a false endpoint that’s easily knocked down.

    The $64,000 question is, why are so many people in power fighting so hard against a drug used safely for decades in the appropriate doses, and why are they trying to subvert physicians’ judgments regarding the best course of treatment for a disease that’s shut down the economy and destroyed businesses? Even The Lancet, the world’s most prestigious medical journal, got into the act by publishing a study so bad that doctors– who didn’t have access to the background data– quickly realized that the study results were nearly impossible, and the study had to be retracted. Another “trick” study.

  6. My sister in-law in Connecticut is a nurse and contracted Covid-19. She was treated with HCQ and a Z-Pack. She recovered, she is in her mid sixty’s.

    • One of the rationales for the use of HCQ and zinc is that it’s being proved that zinc stops viral replication of coronavirus, and it’s also been proved that HCQ acts as a zinc ionophore– that is, is allows zinc, which normally can’t easily get into cells, to get into cells.

      Zinc is an important element in the body’s immune response: “Zinc is known to play a central role in the immune system, and zinc-deficient persons experience increased susceptibility to a variety of pathogens. The immunologic mechanisms whereby zinc modulates increased susceptibility to infection have been studied for several decades….  Zinc is crucial for normal development and function of cells mediating nonspecific immunity such as neutrophils and natural killer cells.”

      So the use of HCQ and zinc has sound biology behind it. Azithromycin, an antibacterial, is used to tamp down secondary infections.

  7. This is good news. It’s not hard to see that the preponderance of evidence (as judge Wapner would say) indicates that HCQ is safe and effective, used with zinc and an antibiotic.
    It isn’t hard to see, either, that cynical, profiteering “doctors” who have violated their oaths, and investors in pharmaceutical corporations, are determined to deny this reality, and attack President Trump, a twofer fershure. They know they are lying. How rotten and evil they are!
    The censoring of this evidence and testimony on the internet is unprecedented. Videos pulled from the youtubes.
    Too much money to be made selling useless remdesivir, and also clearing nursing homes of old people, as they did in NY and Mass.
    It’t hard for most people to comprehend such cynical actions by the power-hungry and greedy, but that is the only explanation for what is happening. As Rahm Emanuel said, “never let a crisis go to waste”. These people are evil incarnate, and if there is hell below, they are sure to go.
    Of course they believe that “science” proves there can be no such thing, God either, but they may be surprised when it’s their time. Burn forever, you wicked, greedy, rotten excuses for human beings.
    Everybody should see this video:
    Dr. Fauchy: go to h***.

  8. Here are some facts about hydroxychloroquine (HCQ):

    1. The Zelenko protocol for the treatment of Covid-19 uses 400 mg HCQ, 500 mg azithromycin, and 220 mg zinc each day for five days. This is a very safe and modest dose of HCQ, which has been used safely for decades. Dr. Zelenko is a NY State physician who on March 23 claimed a near-100% cure rate with this protocol, which is outpatient and early. This protocol is easily found and has been sent to the President.

    2. Following the interest in HCQ, Dr. Fauci, the AMA, many state pharmaceutical boards, several state governors, and other entities moved to outright restrict or else downplay the use of HCQ. The burning question is, why? Why interfere with physicians’ assessment of the best clinical course for a disease of grave concern that led to lockdowns throughout the world?

    3. On April 10, 738 physicians signed a letter to the president in protest of the restrictions of HCQ use. The media did not report on this.

    4. Not one single study has assessed the Zelenko protocol. Instead, clinical trials give the drug too late, or in excessive (near-toxic) doses, and/or without following the entire protocol of drugs. One wonders, with the toxic does administered, exactly what are they testing? Has any physician ever come out and said those doses were beneficial in their practice? Studies that do use early, modest doses and find benefit are ignored.

    5. I know of no physician who argues that HCQ is useful in ICU patients (I may be wrong.) By then, the virus has overwhelmed the body, while the whole point of early treatment is to prevent the growth of the virus. Not to eliminate it completely, as some studies erroneously assume as an endpoint, but to halt replication enough so that the body’s own defenses can kick in and do the rest of the job. HCQ is predominantly an early treatment, even before tests come back if the patient is at risk or already shows some symptoms. This is all in the Zelenko protocol, an extremely simple and inexpensive remedy that Dr. Fauci has decided isn’t worth the bother.

    Remdesivir doesn’t even come close, although it does have one “advantage”: it costs more.

  9. Why are they messing around with this drug??? There seems to be little clinical evidence that this is effective treatment for Covid-19.

  10. Finally something that Vermont is being proactive about, our citizens rights to proper medications for Covid.

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