Connecticut health leaders optimistic about Pfizer at-home COVID treatment pill


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Tuesday marks one year since healthcare workers here in Connecticut received the first COVID-19 vaccine shots. Now, there is new, positive information about a Pfizer COVID pill that some doctors say could be a game-changer.

A COVID pill will not be a substitute for getting a vaccine or booster shot – health officials say those are still the best way to get top protection from COVID – but the at-home treatment will help.

“The efficacy was 89 percent, almost 90 percent in preventing hospitalizations and death,” says Yale Medicine physician Onyema Ogbuagu. “I think just the effects side, the convenience of a pill option, highly effective, safe option is just such welcome news.”

Currently, drugs called monocloncal antibodies are being used to treat people with COVID and they have to be done at appointments.

Eric Arlia heads up Hartford Healthcare‘s pharmacy system. He says demand for the infusions or injections is growing, mostly from immunocompromised who can’t take the vaccine or only get low levels of protection making them vulnerable to the disease.

“I’d say probably in the last month we have seen the demand and how many we’ve administered go up each week, almost triple, so there’s definitely more acceptable,” said Arlia.

But antivirals work best given in the first five days, so the timeline of people getting ill, getting tested, and getting a prescription will have to be worked out.

“I’m optimistic because I think we never were so close to putting an end to this pandemic by having so powerful tools,” said Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla.

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