SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Two new antiviral medications given emergency use approval by the FDA to fight COVID-19 will soon be available in San Diego, though limited at first.
The two oral antiviral pills, Pfizer’s Paxlovid and Merck’s molnupiravir, are expected to arrive in San Diego County in the coming days, according to local health officials.
The two drugs recently gained emergency use authorization by the FDA to be used by COVID-19 patients with mild to moderate symptoms and are at risk of progressing to severe illness, hospitalization, or death.
Both pills are administered over the course of several days. A prescription will be required for either pill and supplies will be very limited initially, health officials added.
"The FDA’s emergency use authorization of these new oral antivirals comes at a critical point in the pandemic as we see an increase in cases and a rapid spread of the Omicron variant," said Wilma Wooten, county public health officer. "However, news of the arrival of these drugs does not mean we can let our guard down. We need to continue to mask up, especially in crowded indoor spaces, and I urge anyone who has not gotten vaccinated, or is overdue for their booster shot, to get vaccinated as soon as possible."
Once the new antiviral pills arrive in the county, they will be distributed through about two dozen local pharmacies that were pre-selected by the California Department of Public Health. The amount distributed is also dependent on community impact.
Both the state and county will expand distribution to more pharmacies once supplies increase.