DPH News Release – Georgia Receives Oral Antiviral COVID-19 Treatments

Molnupiravir and Paxlovid™ Available at Select Retail Pharmacies

Atlanta – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is announcing the allocation of Merck and Pfizer oral antiviral treatments for COVID-19 to select retail pharmacies in Georgia. Initial supply of Molnupiravir and Paxlovid™from the federal government is very limited. DPH anticipates additional allocations in the coming weeks as production increases.

Per guidance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), initial allocations were made to federal pharmacy partners. DPH has partnered with Walmart, Walgreens, and Good Neighbor Pharmacy Group (a group of small independent pharmacies) to ensure coverage across the state. Pharmacies currently allocated treatments can be found on the DPH website at https://dph.georgia.gov/dph-covid-19-guidance.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization for molnupirvar by Merck and an emergency use authorization for Paxlovid™ by Pfizer as oral antiviral treatments of COVID-19. Early studies indicate these treatments may reduce severe outcomes from COVID-19 including hospitalization or death. The antivirals are recommended for treatment of individuals who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 or have underlying medical conditions. Both drugs require a prescription and should be initiated as soon as possible after diagnosis of COVID-19 and within five days of symptom onset. 

While antivirals may help treat COVID-19, vaccination is the best prevention against COVID infection. Georgians aged 5 and older are eligible for vaccination. Georgians 16 and older are eligible for boosters six months after completing their primary vaccine series of either Moderna or Pfizer (only Pfizer is authorized for booster doses in 16- and 17- year-olds) and two months after their J&J vaccine. To find a COVID vaccination location, visit https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine.

Basic prevention measures should also be followed to help prevent further spread of COVID and mitigate outbreaks of infection, especially in public settings: wear a mask, physically distance, and wash your hands frequently with soap and water.

For updates on COVID-19, follow @GaDPH and @GovKemp on Twitter and @GaDPH and @GovKemp on Facebook.

PROTECT NORTH GEORGIA COMMUNITIES FROM COVID-19

REDUCE THE SPREAD OF THE OMICRON VARIANT WITH A LAYERED MITIGATION STRATEGY

GAINESVILLE – COVID-19 cases have rapidly increased over the holiday weekend. The number of positive cases nearly doubled in Georgia since Friday due to the fast spreading Omicron variant. The recent spike in cases mirrors the first months of COVID-19 infections.

District 2 Public Health Director, Zachary Taylor, M.D., is concerned. “Vaccination is the most important strategy available to us against COVID-19 variants, but we must also continue to use a layered approach of protection to keep our communities safe and healthy.”

A layered approach means:
• Wear a mask while indoors despite vaccination status
• Get a booster if eligible
• Wash your hands often
• Social distance when possible
• Get a COVID test if feeling sick or have been around someone who has tested positive for COVID-19

District 2 Public Health has six FREE COVID-19 drive-thru testing locations: Forsyth, Franklin, Hall (2), Lumpkin and Union counties.

Registration is available online and is highly recommended before arriving at the testing site to greatly reduce wait times:
• Visit phdistrict2.org
• Choose the testing location
• Register on the Mako or LTS website by inputting contact information and a valid email address
• Results will be sent to the email address provided within 48 hours

North Georgia residents are at a greater risk of infection and hospitalization from the Omicron variant, many communities are less than 50% fully vaccinated. In comparison, the state of Georgia has a vaccination rate of 53%.

District 2 Public Health officials are urging communities to stay vigilant and use all mitigation strategies available to minimize the burden on hospitals, families, and communities.

For more information on COVID-19 vaccinations, testing, and to find district-wide COVID-19 data visit the District 2 Public Health website at phdistrict2.org.

COVID Vaccine Recommended for Children 5-11 Years Old

Vaccination, with other preventive measures, can protect children from COVID-19

Gainesville – Following the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and health districts throughout Georgia will offer Pfizer pediatric COVID vaccine to children 5-11 years old.

Vaccination will begin once DPH receives clinical guidance from the CDC; that guidance is expected in the coming days.

There are approximately 987,000 children 5-11 years old in Georgia now eligible for COVID vaccine. Vaccine providers include medical practices, pediatric practices, family medicine practices and public health clinics statewide. Pediatric COVID vaccine will also be available at pharmacies, community health centers, and schools.

The pediatric Pfizer COVID vaccine is authorized for children as a 2-dose series taken 3 weeks apart. The dose for children ages 5-11 is one-third of the dosage of the vaccine for adolescents and adults. In clinical trials, vaccination was nearly 91 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 among younger children.

Vaccine side effects were mild and temporary. The most common side effect was a sore arm. 

To find a COVID vaccination location, log on to https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine.

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