HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Hartford HealthCare has received its first shipment of an antiviral COVID-19 pill.
There are currently 318 people hospitalized with COVID across Hartford HealthCare and doctors say the omicron variant is now the dominant variant in Connecticut.
“We did not get a really large quantity. We were not expecting a large quantity. I think it’s going to feel a lot like the vaccines did this time last year, where the first few weeks, the amount was pretty small, then we saw an increase over time,” said Eric Arlia, Vice President of Pharmacy at Hartford HealthCare.
The medication is in stock at Hartford Hospital and its sister center, St. Vincent’s in Bridgeport.
“There’s really never been a time like this where we’ve had multiple therapies, multiple medications rolled out that really benefit the public,” said Dr. Ulysses Wu, Chief Epidemiologist at Hartford HealthCare.
Doctors say it makes an exciting moment in the fight against COVID.
“It will keep, hopefully, people out of the hospital and keep them from dying. That is its main goal, but we don’t want to substitute this medication for vaccinations. This is downstream. This is after the fact. It does not prevent you from getting COVID. It does not prevent you from spreading COVID,” Dr. Wu said.
Paxlovid is here, but it will be hard to get early on. Guidelines will likely ensure it’s reserved for people with severe comorbidities. Age will likely be a factor as well.
“Hopefully, over the next few weeks and months, as the supply becomes more available, the restrictions can be eased and more pharmacies can stock and supply it,” Arlia said.
The state is dealing with a spike in COVID cases, but unlike 2020, Hartford HealthCare officials say there are still no plans to cancel elective procedures, but that could change if cases continue to spike.
Stay tuned to News 8 for updates on this story.