Who is eligible for paxlovid? How it works and how to get it

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Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Twitter that he tested positive for COVID-19 and was receiving Paxlovid treatments, prompting questions about how the treatment works and its accessibility. KCRA 3 spoke with Dr. Vanessa Walker of Pulmonary Medicine Associates, who answered some of these questions. questions.Q: What is Paxlovid and how is it given?Dr. Walker told KCRA 3 that they were two different types of antiviral pills. You take 30 pills in total in five days. According to the study data, Dr. Walker said Paxlovid reduced COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths by 88%. Walker: By affecting this enzyme, it makes the virus unable to replicate as it’s supposed to, which means it’s unable to make as many copies as it needs to spread through your body and cause a serious illness. The key is to catch it early. These drugs aren’t meant to treat people once they’re very sick, so they don’t really play as big of a role once you’re in hospital or once you’re in intensive care. treatments?Dr. Walker: Paxlovid is much more effective than Molnupiravir. If you follow the line of therapy, the first line therapy would be Paxlovid for people who qualify for it. Q: Who should take Paxlovid?Dr. Walker: The people who would benefit are those who are at high risk of having a serious illness. It is our elderly population and our patients who have other chronic health conditions. KCRA Staff Note 3: The FDA Emergency Use Authorization states that healthcare providers must consider the benefit/risk ratio for an individual patient. Q: How do you decide whether or not to prescribe Paxlovid to a patient?Dr. Walker: To me, that’s exactly what we talked about: your risk. How likely are you to end up in hospital with a serious illness. The only thing I would point out is that this means that those of us who are quite young and healthy and don’t have a lot of problems, you shouldn’t take Paxlovid once you’ve contracted the COVID. If I had COVID tomorrow, I wouldn’t write myself a prescription for Paxlovid. Q: Will Paxlovid be available to everyone at some point?Dr. Walker: I think it’s probably behind the scenes at some point. Just not technically yet. Q: You mentioned “COVID rebound” for people who took Paxlovid. What is that? Dr Walker explained that the problem arises after a patient has completed their five-day antiviral treatment. A week after stopping the drug, they again show symptoms of COVID-19 and test positive again even after testing negative. Dr. Walker: We still don’t know exactly what’s going on with that. We don’t think it’s a mutation. It is not a new strain in your body. I think what’s happening is that in some people the antiviral drug drops the viral load so low that it becomes undetectable, and once the drugs wear off it’s able to replenish itself and cause the ‘infection. a prescription for paxlovid through your doctor or health care provider. If you’re uninsured, the California Department of Public Health has opened OptumServe Test to Treat sites that are free for uninsured people to get tested, be seen by a provider, and receive an antiviral prescription Here’s where you can find a Test to Treat site near you. KCRA 3 contacted Governor Gavin Newsom’s office to ask how he was able to receive the Paxlovid treatment. In a statement, a spokesperson said: “The Governor received a prescription from his or her physician. Eligibility is determined by individual practicing physicians. The Governor wanted to raise awareness of the use of Paxlovid in order to educate physicians and healthcare providers about available treatments who believe their patients may benefit from the treatment for avoid serious illness.Many who could benefit from Paxlovid do not get it primarily for lack of knowledge of its dis availability. It is important that Paxlovid is started early in the course of the disease to optimize its benefits. Patients with new symptoms of COVID should talk to their doctor about available treatments. »

Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Twitter that he tested positive for COVID-19 and was receiving Paxlovid treatments, prompting questions about how the treatment works and its accessibility.

KCRA 3 spoke with Dr. Vanessa Walker of Pulmonary Medicine Associates, who answered some of these questions.

Q: What is Paxlovid and how is it given?

Dr Walker told KCRA 3 that they are two different types of antiviral pills. You take 30 pills in total in five days. According to the study data, Dr. Walker said Paxlovid reduced COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths by 88%.

Dr. Walker: By affecting this enzyme, [that helps the virus replicate] this renders the virus unable to replicate as it is supposed to, which means it is unable to make as many copies as it needs to spread through your body and cause serious illness. The key is to catch it early. These drugs aren’t meant to treat people once they’re very sick, so they don’t really play as big of a role once you’re in hospital or in intensive care.

Q: How does Paxlovid compare to other treatments?

Dr. Walker: Paxlovid is much more effective than Molnupiravir. If you follow the line of therapy, the first line therapy would be Paxlovid for people who qualify for it.

Q: Who should take Paxlovid?

Dr. Walker: The people who would benefit are those who are at high risk of having a serious illness. It’s our elderly population and our patients with other chronic conditions.

KCRA Staff Note 3: The FDA Emergency Use Authorization states that healthcare providers must consider the benefit/risk ratio for an individual patient.

Q: How do you decide whether or not to prescribe Paxlovid to a patient?

Dr. Walker: To me, that’s exactly what we talked about: your risk. How likely are you to end up in hospital with a serious illness. The only thing I would point out is that this means that those of us who are quite young and healthy and don’t have a lot of problems, you shouldn’t take Paxlovid once you’ve contracted the COVID. If I had COVID tomorrow, I wouldn’t write myself a prescription for Paxlovid.

Q: Will Paxlovid be available to everyone at some point?

Dr. Walker: I think it’s probably behind the scenes at some point. Just not technically yet.

Q: You mentioned “rebound COVID” for people who have taken Paxlovid. What is that?

Dr Walker explained that the problem arises after a patient has completed their five-day antiviral treatment. A week after stopping the drug, they again show symptoms of COVID-19 and test positive again even after testing negative.

Dr. Walker: We still don’t know exactly what’s going on with that. We don’t think it’s a mutation. It is not a new strain in your body. I think what’s happening is that in some people the antiviral drug drops the viral load so low that it becomes undetectable, and once the drugs wear off it’s able to replenish itself and cause the ‘infection.”


You can get a prescription for paxlovid from your doctor or health care provider. If you are uninsured, the California Department of Public Health has opened OptumServe Test to Treat sites that are free for uninsured people to get tested, be seen by a provider, and receive prescription antiviral pills. Here’s where you can find a Test to Treat site near you.

KCRA 3 contacted Governor Gavin Newsom’s office to ask how he was able to receive the Paxlovid treatment.

In a statement, a spokesperson said:

“The Governor received a prescription from his physician. Eligibility is determined by individual practicing physicians. The Governor wanted to publicize the use of Paxlovid to educate physicians and providers who believe their patients may benefit from the treatment for prevent serious disease. Many who could benefit from Paxlovid do not get it primarily due to lack of knowledge about its availability. It is important that Paxlovid is started early in the course of the disease to maximize its benefits. Patients who have new symptoms of COVID should talk to their doctor about available treatments.”


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