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Merck COVID-19 pill to have limited distribution in Kentucky

Health experts are calling a new pill that can help treat COVID-19 a potential game-changer, but getting your hands on one is going to be tough.
Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 11:02 AM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Health experts are calling a new pill that can help treat COVID-19 a potential game-changer, but getting your hands on one is going to be tough.

Health officials in Kentucky say supplies of the Merck and Pfizer COVID-19 pills are going to be very limited.

“If it works as well as they say it does, I think it’ll be huge,” said Dr. Jeff Foxx.

Only ten Walgreens locations in Kentucky will have the Merck pills available while the 3,300 treatment courses are in stock.

A statement from a Walgreens spokesperson said that these locations were based on testing capabilities, high levels of COVID-19, vaccination rates, and accessibility for vulnerable people.

Similar to the start of the vaccine rollout, supplies were very limited this time last year. However, as time went on, more and more vaccines became available. Health experts are hoping it’s the same with these treatments.

“We’ll be able to treat people, we’ll be able to treat people early, and if it’s widely available we’ll be able to do it at home with a pill instead of right now we’re using monoclonal antibodies, which are an infusion either by way of infusion or a shot,” said Dr. Foxx.

He says the treatments seem to be effective at keeping people from getting seriously sick after they get COVID-19.

“If you take the medicine early in the course, there’s an 80 something percent decrease risk in hospitalization or severe disease. It decreases its ability to replicate itself and therefore create overwhelming infection,” said Dr. Foxx.

However, Dr. Foxx warns these pills are not a replacement for a vaccine and shouldn’t be viewed that way.

“The vaccine is still our first line of defense, and everyone needs to get vaccinated because it is the most important thing right now,” Dr. Foxx said.

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