SAN DIEGO — Here in San Diego, people with COVID now have easier access to Pfizer's Paxlovid, a prescription pill proven to reduce symptoms. Up until now, it's been difficult to find.
This week, the White House announced it would double the nation's supply, making it more widely available for those 12 and up who have certain medical conditions like obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and asthma.
Paxlovid must be taken within five days of symptoms.
In San Diego, you can now find it at most pharmacies, medical providers, and community health centers, if you have a prescription.
County leaders want to get the word out, saying they’re worried not enough people, including some doctors, know about Paxlovid, as well as other treatments available.
That includes monoclonal treatments, which are administered via an IV within seven days of symptoms.
Those have been around for more than a year.
"For monoclonal antibodies, you can just call the Monoclonal Regional Centers. You don't need a referral. You don't need a prescription," said Dr. Jennifer Tuteur, Chief Medical Officer for the County of San Diego.
Dr. Tuteur says while COVID restrictions have decreased dramatically, the number of recent COVID cases in San Diego County are on the rise.
"We can tell that a couple of ways. The number of tests that are positive that are PCR tests and reported to the county are increasing, but also our wastewater. So, the number of positive tests in our wastewater that continue to monitor those are also increasing," said Dr, Tuteur.
In addition to COVID pills and monoclonal antibodies, there's also medication that helps prevent people who are immunocompromised from getting COVID in the first place.
With so much changing throughout this pandemic, Dr. Tuteur admits it’s hard to keep track. but knowing about these treatments can be life-saving.
She suggests people ask their medical provider about their options, and if they don't have one, call 2-1-1.
The treatments are available free of charge from the government.
If you're a medical provider who wants access, click here for more information.
If you have COVID and want to know more about your options, click here.
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