COVID antiviral pills have arrived in the Valley, but supply is limited

Written by on January 14, 2022

COVID antiviral pills have arrived in the Valley, but supply is limited

By Brittany Sweeney
January 14, 2022

The supply of Antiviral pills is limited so only the most immunocompromised COVID patients are getting them. Photo | Julie Viken/Pexels)

COVID-19 antiviral pills are here and have been distributed across the state, mainly to pharmacies. 

There are two different types: one made by Pfizer called Paxlovid, the other by Merck called Molnupiravir.

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These medications are for the immunocompromised or at-risk Covid patients, said Dr. Timothy Friel, Lehigh Valley Health Network’s chair of the Department of Medicine and Infectious Diseases.

“Those who have other complications like high body weight, pregnancy, or serious underlying medical conditions problems with their heart, their lungs, their liver, their kidneys, all of those things add up put someone at much, much greater risk for developing these serious complications,” Friel said.  

He explained the pills are outpatient therapies that need to be started by a COVID positive person within five days of the onset of symptoms.

Dr. Jeffrey Jahre, senior vice president of Medical and Academic Affairs and section chief emeritus of Infectious Diseases at St. Luke’s University Health Network said the medications are not a replacement for vaccinations.

“For many populations, we’re talking about not just the double dose of the Pfizer and Maderna vaccine, but getting an appropriate booster,” Jahre said. 

A limited number of Lehigh Valley pharmacies have the pills, more have ordered them, but a prescription is required.  A full list of where to find COVID therapies is available at healthdata.gov.

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