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IDPH announces new COVID-19 antivirals

Both antivirals will be available by prescription only and should be taken as soon as possible...
Both antivirals will be available by prescription only and should be taken as soon as possible after being diagnosed and within five days of the beginning of symptoms.
Updated: Jan. 6, 2022 at 3:40 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (KFVS) - The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has announced two new Covid-19 antivirals to be available in Illinois later this month.

The oral antivirals, Paxlovid (Pfizer) and Molnupiravir (Merck), are for those with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk for becoming severely ill, including hospitalization or death.

According to IDPH, both antivirals will be available by prescription only and should be taken as soon as possible after being diagnosed and within five days of the beginning of symptoms.

Paxlovid is expected to reduce the risk of hospitalizations by 89% and Molnupiravir by about 30%. 

Molnupiravir is meant for use when other treatment options for Covid-19 aren’t available.

“These new oral antivirals add new tools to our toolbox to keep people with COVID-19 out of the hospital,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “While vaccination, including boosters, is still the best way to avoid infection and prevent severe illness from COVID-19, these new antivirals given emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration can help treat those who get infected and have a higher risk of becoming severely ill.”

In addition to the oral antivirals, people can still receive monoclonal antibody treatment (mAb) to help prevent COVID-19 from progressing to a point where a person needs to be hospitalized. 

Unlike the new oral antivirals, mAb are administered intravenously or through several shots. Both require a prescription.

IDPH says it is working with pharmacies around the state to offer the antivirals. 

Although these antivirals are free from the federal government, they are in limited supply. 

Illinois will receive a renewed allocation of antivirals every two weeks. 

Walgreens and Walmart stores are federal pharmacy partners and some of their stores will carry the antivirals, as will other pharmacies. 

IDPH will provide a list of locations providing antivirals on the IDPH website as soon as participating pharmacies are finalized.

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