CENTRAL NEW YORK (WSYR-TV) — If you’re at high risk of developing severe complications from COVID-19, your first line of defense is getting vaccinated. There are treatment options if you get sick. The pill, Paxlovid is one of them.

“Anyone that has COPD, diabetes, chemotherapy, immunocompromisation, reach out to your doctor if you have COVID,” said Dr. Mincolla, a family physician and partner at CNY Family Care. “You have to get it within the first five days of symptoms too, so there’s a nuance to this medication.”

Central New York had one of the highest rates of the new Omicron variant, BA.2. With that — the region has administered Paxlovid more than any other part of the state. Dr. Mincolla said the challenge now is there just isn’t enough to go around.

“I would love to be able to prescribe Paxlovid to reduce your risk of developing severe disease and hospitalization. It’s just not available. It’s not easy to get. I have my nurses having to call four, five, six pharmacies. It changes every day, which pharmacies have it,” Dr. Mincolla explained.

There is another treatment, Molnupiravir. However, Dr. Mincolla said he has concerns about it.

“It was not as effective compared to Paxlovid,” Mincolla added, “It only worked in about 56, data showed a 56% reduction in severe cases and hospitalizations. The problem with that one is, that one can actually induce viral mutation and can actually cause new variants. So I will not be prescribing that medication.”

Both treatments have not been approved, but have been authorized for emergency use by the FDA. If you have any concerns or are wondering what treatment is right for you, you should contact your healthcare provider.

Dr. Mincolla also urged everyone to have patience with their healthcare provider and staff. He said many providers are short-staffed.