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COVID-19: Antiviral Prescriptions Axed, Bivalent Vaccine Effectiveness

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Feb. 1 that Americans no longer need a positive COVID-19 test to be prescribed Pfizer-BioNTech’s Paxlovid and Merck’s Lagevrio, two antiviral treatments currently under emergency use authorizations used to treat COVID-19

Paxlovid is currently available to patients ages 12 years and older, while Lagevrio is available to those ages 18 and older.

CDC Study: Bivalent Vaccine Protects against Burgeoning Virus Subvariants

A study published Feb. 3 in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found that bivalent mRNA COVID-19 booster doses protect against the XBB and XBB.1.5 subvariants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 infection, in those who have previously received at least two monovalent vaccine doses.

XBB and XBB.1.5 subvariants currently account for nearly 70 percent of COVID-19 cases in the nation, and the agency suggests Americans should stay up to date with recommended vaccinations to maximize protection against the spreading subvariants.

White House COVID-19 Coordinator Ashish Jha, MD, MPH, indicated in a Feb. 2 webinar with the University of California San Francisco Department of Medicine that the nation’s supply of COVID-19 vaccines could soon run out following the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Jha stated that a shift in vaccine distribution to the private market is looming, possibly over the summer or early fall.

Joint CDC, WHO Study Details COVID-19 Mortality Rate Early in the Pandemic

A World Health Organization (WHO) and CDC study released Feb. 3 reported that more than 80 percent of COVID-19 mortality in 2020 and 2021 was among individuals more than 60 years old.

The study also found that only 76 percent of adults worldwide had completed a primary COVID-19 vaccination series by the end of 2022, a figure “substantially below” the WHO’s global vaccination goal.

The agencies used daily country-specific number of reported cases and deaths; weekly country-specific age, sex, and health care worker status of disaggregated cases and deaths; and WHO-modeled COVID-19 excess mortality estimates for the analysis.

The report also suggests that greater efforts are needed to increase COVID-19 vaccination as recommended by WHO and national health authorities.

Visit the America’s Essential Hospitals coronavirus resource page for more information about the pandemic.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at or 202.585.0127 with questions.


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