NYC Offering Free COVID-19 Antiviral Pills to Residents

Ralph Ellis

February 02, 2022

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

New York City is now sending free COVID-19 antiviral pills to residents who have tested positive, show mild to moderate symptoms, and have a doctor's prescription, Mayor Eric Adams said Sunday.

Residents can receive same-day deliveries of the Pfizer product Paxlovid or the Merck product molnupiravir while supplies last, Adams said at a news conference at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx, according to ABC News.

The FDA authorized both drugs in December 2021. Pfizer's drug is authorized for anyone age 12 and older. Merck's medication is only for people 18 and up. Alto Pharmacy, a telehealth pharmacy that works with the city's health department, will make the deliveries, ABC News said.

"Oral antiviral pills…taken for five days helps stop the virus from reproducing, which reduces the amount of virus in the body, and prevents symptoms from getting worse," New York City Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi, MD, said at the news conference.

City officials stressed that supplies are limited. On Sunday, only about 1,000 courses of Paxlovid and 11,000 of molnupiravir were currently available in the city, ABC News said, citing federal data.

Adams said COVID-19 cases in the city are declining and that 85% of adults and 50% of children 5 and older were fully vaccinated.

"New Yorkers are winning," Adams said. "We have a lot to do, but let's be clear: We're winning."

Sources

ABC News: "New York City will offer free, at-home delivery of COVID-19 antiviral pills."

FDA: "Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Authorizes First Oral Antiviral for Treatment of COVID-19." "Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Authorizes Additional Oral Antiviral for Treatment of COVID-19 in Certain Adults."

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