On Thursday, the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) announced the state has received shipments of the Merck and Pfizer oral antiviral treatments for COVID-19.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization for Molnupirvar by Merck and an emergency use authorization for Paxlovid™ by Pfizer as oral antiviral treatments of COVID-19.

Early studies indicate these treatment options may reduce severe outcomes from COVID-19 including hospitalization or death. These treatments are recommended for individuals who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19 or have underlying medical conditions.

Interested parties are recommended to consult with their physician about risk factors when taking these treatments. Both drugs require a prescription.

The Tennessee Department of Health coordinated a distribution plan of Molnupiravir and Paxlovid™ with Walmart pharmacies across the state. This treatment is free and Tennesseans can visit www.walmart.com/covid medication to find a participating Walmart pharmacy near them.

Initial supply in the state is limited as the first allocation from the federal government was 5,000 courses of Molnupiravir and 1,000 courses of Paxlovid™.

TDH anticipates additional allocations in the coming weeks as production increases.

While antivirals may help treat COVID-19, vaccination is the best approach to prevent infection, according to officials. Tennesseans age 5 and above are encouraged to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Individuals ages 16 and above who received an mRNA vaccine may also be eligible for a booster shot at six months or more after they complete the initial series.

For adults ages 18 and older who received single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a booster dose is recommended at two or more months after the initial vaccine.

More information on vaccine locations, including available vaccine products, is available at vaccines.gov

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