Administration expands availability of COVID antiviral pill

Apr 25, 2022, 2:15 PM | Updated: Apr 26, 2022, 6:31 pm
FILE - President Joe Biden speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House, in Washington, Nov. 19, 20...

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House, in Washington, Nov. 19, 2021. Biden's administration is taking steps to expand availability of the life-saving COVID-19 antiviral treatment Paxlovid. It's trying to reassure doctors that there is ample supply for people at high risk of severe illness or death from the virus. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s administration is taking steps to expand availability of the life-saving COVID-19 antiviral treatment Paxlovid, seeking to reassure doctors that there is ample supply for people at high risk of severe illness or death from the virus.

Paxlovid, produced by Pfizer, was first approved in December. Supply of the regimen was initially very limited, but COVID-19 cases across the country have fallen and manufacturing has increased. The White House is now moving to raise awareness of the pill and taking steps to make it easier to access.

The White House said Tuesday it is stepping up outreach to doctors, letting them know they shouldn’t think twice about prescribing the pill to eligible patients. Also, the drug will now be distributed directly to pharmacies, in addition to existing distribution channels run by states. That is expected to boost the number of sites from 20,000 to more than 30,000 next week and eventually to 40,000 locations.

The administration used the pharmacy channel to boost availability of COVID-19 vaccines more than a year ago.

“Paxlovid will be widely available everywhere in America,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator. The drug and antivirals like it “are the key essential tools that we’re going to need to get through the rest of this pandemic,” he said.

Vice President Kamala Harris, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, is taking Paxlovid after discussing it with her physicians.

Paxlovid, when administered within five days of symptoms appearing, has been proven to bring about a 90% reduction in hospitalizations and deaths among patients most likely to get severe disease. About 300 Americans are now dying each day from the coronavirus, down from more than 2,600 during the height of the omicron wave earlier this year.

The U.S. has ordered enough supply of the pills for 20 million people, which is estimated to last for several more months. The administration has warned that subsequent deliveries are dependent on Congress approving additional COVID-19 response funding.

“What we need to do is to help American physicians and nurse practitioners and others who can prescribe understand that we now have plenty available and anybody who is eligible, anybody who has high risk, should be getting Paxlovid,” Jha said.

He also encouraged people who test positive to contact their doctors to determine their eligibility for the drug that might prevent severe outcomes.

The Food and Drug Administration authorized Pfizer’s drug for adults and children age 12 or older with a positive COVID-19 test and early symptoms who face the highest risk of severe outcomes. That includes older people and those with conditions like obesity and heart disease, though the drug is not recommended for patients with severe kidney or liver problems.

The administration is also working to expand the number of test-to-treat sites that provide a one-stop shop for those with COVID-19 to get tested for the virus, consult with a medical professional if they’re positive and fill a prescription for Paxlovid on site. Currently there are 2,200 locations nationwide, and the administration hopes support from the Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and pharmacy companies will enable more sites to come online in the coming weeks.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Pakistan appoints new finance minister amid economic crisis

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan appointed a new finance minister on Monday as the improverished nation struggles to recover from an economic crisis worsened by deadly floods. Ishaq Dar, a senior figure in the Pakistan Muslim League party, has been finance minister three times. His challenges will be to convince the International Monetary Fund to soften […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

IMF urges UK to “re-evaluate” tax cuts on inflation concerns

LONDON (AP) — The International Monetary Fund has urged the U.K. government to “reevaluate” a package of unfunded tax cuts that it says may fuel inflation and are likely to increase economic inequality. The government on Friday unveiled a 45 billion-pound ($48 billion) package of tax cuts in an effort to spur economic growth. But […]
1 day ago
A large disturbance in the sea can be observed off the coast of the Danish island of Bornholm Tuesd...
Associated Press

EU chief vows retaliation if pipeline damage is sabotage

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union suspects that damage to two underwater natural gas pipelines was sabotage and is warning of retaliation for any attack on Europe’s energy networks, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Wednesday. “All available information indicates those leaks are the result of a deliberate act,” Borrell said in a statement […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

China former top graft buster indicted on bribery charges

BEIJING (AP) — A former top graft buster at China’s ministry for intelligence and counterintelligence has been indicted on bribery charges, just weeks before a major congress of the ruling Communist Party whose leader Xi Jinping has made fighting corruption a signature issue. Wednesday’s indictment of Liu Yanping, who headed the State Security Ministry’s branch […]
1 day ago
Eviation's "Alice", the world's first all-electric commuter airplane, takes off for its first fligh...
Associated Press

Prototype electric airplane takes first flight

A prototype, all-electric airplane took its first flight Tuesday morning in central Washington state.
1 day ago
Associated Press

Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners meet in game 2 of series

Texas Rangers (66-87, fourth in the AL West) vs. Seattle Mariners (83-70, second in the AL West) Seattle; Wednesday, 9:40 p.m. EDT PITCHING PROBABLES: Rangers: Martin Perez (12-6, 2.90 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 164 strikeouts); Mariners: George Kirby (0-0, 19.29 ERA, 4.29 WHIP, one strikeout) FANDUEL SPORTSBOOK LINE: Mariners -160, Rangers +140; over/under is 7 runs […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Administration expands availability of COVID antiviral pill