(WHNT) — A newly-approved COVID-19 antiviral pill will make its way to Alabama within the next two weeks, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).
The pill, given emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this week, is an oral antiviral drug from Pfizer called Paxlovid.
The drug comes in tablet form and the initial supply, limited to 780 patient courses, will only be available by prescription for the first week of January. The state will use pharmacies to dispense Paxlovid, but other providers will be added later.
“As new variants continue to emerge, we are excited that the oral tablet Paxlovid will soon be available to help combat COVID-19 in non-hospitalized patients,” said State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris. “While we are very pleased Paxlovid will be a treatment option, it is not a substitute for vaccinations which remain the best way for most people to protect themselves against severe illness and death due to COVID-19. I continue to urge all Alabamians to be vaccinated and receive a booster dose when eligible.”
ADPH says current data shows Paxlovid is 88% effective in reducing hospitalization or death from COVID-19.
Paxlovid is authorized for mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adult and pediatric patients, and should be taken as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms, says ADPH. It is administered as three tablets taken twice daily for five days.
In order to receive a prescription for the drug, patients must show a positive COVID-19 test, be at high risk of developing severe illness, and be 12 years older and weigh at least 88 pounds.