The White House states that COVID-19 oral antiviral treatments are now in “ample supply.” On Tuesday, the Biden administration announced its plan to ensure the pills are widely available to the American people in the near future.

About the pill: Pfizer’s Paxlovid — one of the most effective COVID-19 antiviral pills — has been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization or death from COVID-19 by about 90%, according to the White House.

When the Food and Drug Administration first approved the pill in late 2021, they weren’t very easy to come by. However, the White House has announced that the pills are now in “ample supply,” and that “the U.S. has committed to purchase 20 million treatment courses— more than any other country in the world.”

A new plan: Since December 2021, the Biden administration has been distributing free oral antivirals to states, tribes, territories and community health centers, but they plan to significantly expand their current efforts.

  • On Tuesday, the administration detailed a new plan to distribute these pills so that they are readily available to the American public.
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  • “These actions will help strengthen and further build the infrastructure to ensure that lifesaving treatments for COVID-19 are quickly distributed around the country, widely available, and easy to access,” stated the White House.

The plan includes:

  • Doubling the number of places where oral antivirals are available — Currently there are 20,000 locations in the U.S. that offer oral antivirals, such as hospitals and pharmacies. Now pharmacies will be able to order free antivirals straight from the federal government.
  • Starting a new effort to “stand up federally supported Test-to-Treat sites” — There are currently 2,200 Test-to-Treat sites across the country. The federal government will work with local jurisdictions to establish additional locations that are federally funded.
  • Giving medical providers more tools and guidance to understand and prescribe COVID-19 treatments — The federal government plans to provide local health care agencies with proper training and education on the latest treatments. Through webinars and other modes of training, the White House wants to ensure that each local health care agency has access to proper training concerning COVID-19 treatments.
  • Communicating to the American people that the treatments are safe and widely available — Now that these treatments are more widely available, the White House plans to “ramp up” its public education efforts on COVID-19 treatments. Through social media and infographics, the administration wants the American people to know that oral antiviral treatments must be taken within five days of the first symptoms, and understand that these treatments are effective and can reduce the risk of death from COVID-19.