Georgia gets first shipments of coronavirus pill treatment

Paxlovid
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The new pill to treat COVID-19 has arrived in Georgia.

The Merck and Pfizer oral antiviral treatments for COVID-19 are being sent to select retail pharmacies in Georgia.

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, the initial supply of Molnupiravir and Paxlovid from the federal government is limited. The health department anticipates additional allocations in the coming weeks as production increases.

The health department has partnered with Walmart, Walgreens, and Good Neighbor Pharmacy Group — a group of small independent pharmacies — to ensure coverage across the state. Pharmacies that have the treatments can be found on the Department of Public Health’s website at https://dph.georgia.gov/dph-covid-19-guidance.

The Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for molnupirvar by Merck and an emergency use authorization for Paxlovid by Pfizer as oral antiviral treatments of COVID-19. 

Early studies indicate these treatments may reduce severe outcomes from COVID-19 including hospitalization or death. The antivirals are recommended for treatment of individuals who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 or have underlying medical conditions. 

Both drugs require a prescription and should be initiated as soon as possible after diagnosis of COVID-19 and within five days of symptom onset. 

While antivirals may help treat COVID-19, health department officials say the vaccination is the best prevention against COVID infection.

Georgians aged 5 and older are eligible for vaccination. Georgians 16 and older are eligible for boosters six months after completing their primary vaccine series of either Moderna or Pfizer (only Pfizer is authorized for booster doses in 16- and 17- year-olds) and two months after their J&J vaccine. To find a COVID vaccination location, visit https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine.

Basic prevention measures should also be followed to help prevent further spread of COVID and mitigate outbreaks of infection, especially in public settings: wear a mask, physically distance, and wash your hands frequently with soap and water. 

For updates on COVID-19, follow @GaDPH and @GovKemp on Twitter and @GaDPH and @GovKemp on Facebook.

HOW TO GET VACCINATED: COVID-19 has killed more than 30,000 Georgia residents. Don’t let yourself or your loved ones die from a preventable virus. COVID vaccines are free and widely available statewide without insurance or identification. To find a vaccination location or to schedule an appointment, visit https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine.

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