First oral antiviral COVID-19 treatment is coming to Utah

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The Pfizer logo is seen at the Pfizer Inc. headquarters on December 9, 2020, in New York City. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for Pzifer’s COVID-19 pill on Wednesday and the antiviral will soon be available in Utah.

Paxlovid, Pfizer’s anti-COVID pill, is in very limited supply and will be used to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adults and children 12 years or older who weigh at least 88 pounds and are at high risk for hospitalization and death.

Currently, Utah does not have its allocation of the medication but when the state receives its portion, Utah’s initial allocation will be 440 units — just enough to treat 440 patients, a press release says.

The treatment is available by prescription only and must be started within five days of symptom onset.

“This medication will be in very limited supplies for some time and will go to those individuals who are most at risk for being hospitalized from COVID-19. We are working with providers across the state to determine the most equitable allocation strategies given this scarce resource,” said Kevin McCulley, preparedness and response director with the Utah Department of Health.

Paxlovid is not a substitute for vaccination in individuals for whom COVID-19 vaccination and a booster dose are recommended. The Utah Department of Health encourages anyone who hasn’t yet received a COVID-19 vaccine to get vaccinated and receive a booster if eligible.

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