People who test positive for Covid can get antiviral pills for free at the pharmacy, Biden says

People who test positive for Covid can get antiviral pills for free at the pharmacy, Biden says

Paxlovid, a Pfizer coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pill, was produced in Ascoli, Italy, in this undated photo obtained by Reuters on November 16, 2021.

Pfizer | Pantry | via Reuters

President Joe Biden on Tuesday said that Covid-19 positive Americans can receive antiviral pills for free at local pharmacies and community health centers as part of a new program to be launched this month.

“We are launching the ‘Test to Treat’ initiative so that people can get tested at the pharmacy and, if they are positive, receive antiviral pills on the spot at no cost,” Biden said during his State of the Union address. Tuesday.

The administration will launch hundreds of sites nationwide at CVS, Walgreens and Kroger as well as community health centers this month, a White House official said. Biden said Americans can also order more free Covid tests on the government’s website, covidtests.gov, next week. Families can benefit from four free Covid tests per order. Families are limited to two orders starting next week based on their residence address.

The president said Pfizer is working to provide 1 million cycles of its Covid pill, Paxlovid, this month. Paxlovid was 89% effective in preventing hospitalization among people at risk of developing serious illness during clinical trials.

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Biden said the United States has reached a new moment in the pandemic, with cases of serious illness down to their lowest level since July. The omicron variant Covid shocked the country in December and January, causing an unprecedented wave of infection that pushed many hospitals to the brink.

The president said most Americans are now safe to live their life without a mask under new guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week. Biden said more than the country will also meet CDC guidelines for shedding the mask in the next two weeks.

“With 75 percent of adult Americans fully vaccinated and hospital admissions down 77 percent, most Americans can take off their masks, go back to work, stay in class and move forward safely,” the president said.

Biden said the US is prepared for new variants of Covid, with the ability to distribute new vaccines within 100 days if needed.

“I can’t promise that a new variant won’t come. But I can promise you that we will do everything in our power to be ready if it does,” he said.

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