CARBON COUNTY, Pa. — There are two new treatment options for newly infected COVID-19 patients, and you can take them at home.
Pfizer's pill, Paxlovid, and Merck's Molnupiravir were authorized by the FDA for use to prevent the virus from reproducing.
St. Luke's Carbon Campus was one of the health care providers selected to distribute the new treatment. The problem is they're in short supply.
"The problems were facing right now with these oral drugs, we were facing with vaccines not all that long ago, and that supply chain has remedied to a large degree, so we now have oral drugs that we didn't have available," said Dr. Jeffrey Jafre, an infectious disease specialist and senior vice president of medical and academic affairs at St. Luke's University Health Network.
Dr. Jahre says the pills aren't for everyone who tests positive.
- Pills must be taken as soon symptoms appear.
- They're only intended for COVID patients with mild to moderate symptoms who are more likely to become seriously ill due to being high risk.
- Paxlovid is authorized for people aged 12 and older,
- Molnupiravir is for people aged 18 and up who are not pregnant.
- You'll need a prescription from your doctor or a health care provider.
Dr. Jahre says the medications should not be a substitute for the vaccine.
"The preventative, by and large, is the vaccine and for many populations, we're talking about," Dr. Jahre said. "Not just the double dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine but getting an appropriate booster."
Check with your doctor to see if you're eligible for the pills.
Click here for a full list of locations offering the medications. They may not be available everywhere because of short supply.
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