How to get free antiviral COVID-19 medication

Published: Mar. 10, 2022 at 2:26 PM EST
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(CNN) - Two COVID-19 antiviral pills are already available for free in the U.S., but getting them can be challenging.

”These treatments work to prevent the worst outcomes of COVID-19,” said Jeff Zients, White House COVID-19 response coordinator.

The new Test-To-Treat program aims to help people get tested for COVID-19 and if positive, to help them be given free anti-viral pills on the spot.

”Hundreds of one-stop sites will open across the country this month, located at local pharmacy clinics, community health centers, long-term care facilities and veterans’ health centers,” Zients said.

Certain pharmacies across the U.S., including CVS, Walgreens and Walmart, have confirmed some of their locations are getting ready to take part in the program.

Pfizer’s antiviral pill is for people 12 and older, while Merck’s is for adults only. Anyone who tests positive in those age groups can be given the medication to take at home. The treatment works best when taken within a few days of the start of symptoms.

While the one-stop sites are ordering the COVID-19 antiviral medicines now, the orders have to be delivered before they can be prescribed.

Patients are expected to be able to receive COVID-19 antivirals through the program later this week.

To find a participating location, people will be able to visit a Test-To-Treat website once it launches this month.

The American Medical Association has voiced concerns over the program, saying a clinic may not know a patient’s full medical history or medication being taken like a doctor would. Officials said that is why it is important to contact your doctor shortly after testing positive for COVID-19 to asses treatment options.

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