On his first day in office, President Biden mobilized an unprecedented, comprehensive response to the COVID-19 pandemic-standing up a historic vaccination program that has gotten 220 million Americans fully vaccinated and over 100 million people boosted, and investing in other lifesaving tools, including COVID-19 therapeutics.
One of the most effective treatments in our nation’s medicine cabinet is Paxlovid, an oral antiviral pill, which reduces the risk of hospitalization or death by about 90 percent. Since Paxlovid was first authorized in December 2021, the Administration has moved quickly to ensure that these treatments are widely available and that health care providers and patients know about their availability and efficacy. These efforts include a Test-to-Treat initiative to help make it easier for people to quickly access oral antiviral treatments in one convenient location. There are now more than 2,500 Test-to-Treat locations across the country at local pharmacies and community health centers-up from 2,200 a month ago.
The Administration’s actions to date have resulted in tremendous progress: We have dramatically increased the number of people benefiting from oral antivirals in the last seven weeks, from about 27,000 prescriptions filled each week to more than 182,000 last week-a more than six-fold increase. We have also doubled the number of sites where Paxlovid is available nationally.
Because of the work the Biden Administration has done on vaccines, boosters, treatments, and more, COVID-19 deaths are down 90 percent from when the President took office-even as cases rise in parts of the country. The tools that the Administration has made widely available to the American people are working to prevent serious illness, to keep people out of the hospital, and to save lives.
The tools we have now mean that we can prevent most COVID deaths. The Administration remains laser-focused on making sure that these lifesaving tools are widely available to every American who needs them. To that end, today, the Administration is announcing the launch of the first federally-supported Test-to-Treat site, with more planned in the coming weeks.
Today’s announcement includes:
- Launching the first federally-supported Test-to-Treat site in Rhode Island: Today, Rhode Island will officially launch the nation’s first federally-supported Test-to-Treat site at a clinic in Providence. Federal reimbursement will now allow individuals who test positive for COVID-19 at the clinic to immediately receive an assessment from a medical provider and get oral antiviral treatments-if prescribed-all in one convenient location that serves some of the state’s highest-risk and hardest-hit populations. The clinic also currently offers vaccination, meaning that federal support will help enhance this site into being a true one-stop shop for individuals to protect themselves and their communities from COVID-19.
- Deploying clinical personnel to support state-run Test-to-Treat sites in Minnesota: In the coming days, the Administration will deploy clinical personnel to support staffing across several of Minnesota’s state-run testing sites, transforming them into Test-to-Treat sites that will co-locate testing, an assessment from a medical provider, and oral antiviral treatments. This direct federal support will allow Minnesota to expand the capacity and reach of Test-to-Treat, making these lifesaving oral antiviral treatments more widely available statewide.
- Launching additional federally-supported Test-to-Treat sites in the coming weeks: The Administration will open federally-supported Test-to-Treat sites in New York and Illinois in the coming weeks, and is working with other regions like Massachusetts and New York City to enhance existing state-led efforts to increase access to oral antivirals like Paxlovid.
Today’s announcements build on the significant actions the Administration has taken over the past several weeks to increase access to oral antivirals and boost health care provider and patient awareness, including:
- Doubling the number of places where oral antivirals are available: In late April, the Administration acted to make it easier for local pharmacies to order oral antivirals directly from the federal government. As a result, oral antivirals are now available at almost 40,000 convenient locations nationwide-up from roughly 20,000 a month ago. This means nearly 90 percent of Americans now live within 5 miles of a place where they can pick up their prescriptions for oral antivirals, including local pharmacies, hospitals, urgent care centers, community health centers, rural health clinics, Veterans Affairs clinics, and Department of Defense Medical Treatment Facilities.
- Ensuring equitable access to oral antivirals: In line with the Administration’s unwavering commitment to equity, 40 percent of the pharmacy sites that now have oral antivirals available are located in communities with the highest levels of social vulnerability. To ensure both equitable geographic placement and equitable administration to vulnerable populations, we have also called on all sites dispensing oral antivirals to collect robust demographic data on individuals receiving prescriptions for COVID-19 therapeutics. This demographic data will improve our ability to identify-in real time-any gaps in access and work to promptly alleviate those gaps.
- Expanding the number of Test-to-Treat sites in communities and their reach: Over the past several weeks, the Administration has worked with its federal pharmacy and community health center partners to expand the footprint of Test-to-Treat sites in communities and to enhance overall patient experience. This means that it is even easier for people to make appointments and to access treatments. There are now more than 2,500 Test-to-Treat locations across the country at local pharmacies and community health centers-up from 2,200 a month ago. These Test-to-Treat sites provide people streamlined access to COVID-19 tests, health care provider visits, and if they need it, prescriptions for oral antivirals. In addition, Americans can now find many health care providers on the Test-to-Treat locator that supports telehealth visits to determine if oral antivirals are appropriate. Walgreens has made antiviral treatments available in all of its rural and high Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) locations, and CVS and Kroger have added telehealth-based provider visits to help people get a prescription quickly.
- Supporting health care providers with additional guidance: In the last month, federal health agencies have issued updated guidance to help health care providers stay up to date on the latest science and navigate drug-drug interactions and contraindications. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued two Health Alert Notifications highlighting available COVID-19 treatments, particularly Paxlovid. The National Institutes of Health has updated its treatment guidelines with more info to help providers understand drug-drug interactions. And, the Food and Drug Administration issued a FAQ and created an eligibility screening checklist to help providers get this treatment to all patients that need it.
- Providing more resources for the immunocompromised: The Administration continues to prioritize protections for immunocompromised individuals. This includes ensuring that immunocompromised individuals have free and easy access to additional booster shots, and making pre-exposure prophylaxis drugs like Evusheld widely available and free to help those with moderately and severely compromised immune systems mount an adequate immune response to COVID-19. As part of the Administration’s ongoing commitment, we continue to ensure immunocompromised individuals have easy access to the best and latest information on federal websites about vaccines and Evusheld, including highlighting this information on covid.gov. Additionally, the Administration continues to engage provider organizations representing clinicians that care for the majority of immunocompromised patients to make sure that they are doing everything they can to ensure that all patients who would benefit from Evusheld are informed and offered the opportunity to receive the treatment.