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Supply of COVID-19 treatment pills now available to Tennesseans

According to early studies, both treatments saw success in treating severe outcomes of the virus.
This image provided by Pfizer in October 2021 shows the company's COVID-19 Paxlovid pills. U.S....
This image provided by Pfizer in October 2021 shows the company's COVID-19 Paxlovid pills. U.S. health regulators on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021 authorized the first pill against COVID-19, a Pfizer drug that Americans will be able to take at home to head off the worst effects of the virus.(Pfizer via AP)
Published: Dec. 30, 2021 at 11:10 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 31, 2021 at 3:32 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Merck and Pfizer oral antiviral treatments for COVID-19 were shipped to the state of Tennessee Thursday, according to the Tennessee Department of Health.

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

According to early studies, both treatments saw success in treating severe outcomes of the virus. The treatments are also recommended for individuals at high risk for severe symptoms or those with underlying medical conditions.

Molnupiravir facts:

  • Approved for those 18 years and older
  • Recommended to start treatment as soon as possible after testing positive, within five days of symptoms
  • 40 pills over a 5-day period
  • Not recommended for use while pregnant or breastfeeding

Paxlovid facts:

  • Approved for those 12 years or older
  • Recommended to start treatment as soon as possible after testing positive, within three days of symptoms
  • 30 pills over a 5-day period
  • Approved to be used while pregnant or breastfeeding

Experts encourage the public to consult with their physicians about risk factors before taking treatments. Both drugs require a prescription.

The drugs will be distributed to Walmart pharmacies across the state. This treatment is free. Initial supply in the state is limited as the first allocation from the federal government was 5,000 courses of molnupiravir and 1,000 courses of Paxlovid.

“While antivirals may help treat COVID-19, vaccination is the best approach to prevent infection. Tennesseans age five and above are encouraged to receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” the TDOH said.

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