Family Healthcast: New COVID-19 pill

Family Healthcast

(WSYR-TV) — As we wait for approval for booster shots for all adults for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, we have a question about the new COVID-19 pill.  

“Does Pfizer’s new pill prevent COVID like a vaccine or is it a treatment?” 

The pill is called Paxlovid, it is a treatment for Covid 19 designed to keep people with mild to moderate symptoms from becoming very sick. 

In early trials, when Paxlovid was given to people at high risk of severe illness within three days of symptom onset. It reduced the rate of death and hospitalization by 89% compared with people given a placebo. The pill is one of two now being reviewed by the FDA for approval. If one or both gets the ok, it might help transform the pandemic. 

The pills were tested only in unvaccinated people. It will be up to the FDA to decide who is eligible for the treatment. 

Experts say vaccines remain the best available tool to help turn the tide of the pandemic. 

But for people who experience breakthrough infections, especially the immunocompromised, as well as those who remain unvaccinated, the pills, if found safe and effective, may represent hope of a new line of defense against a disease that has already killed more than 5.1 million people globally. 

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