A study released Nov. 9 in JAMA Network Open revealed that 15 percent of Americans live more than an hour away from a COVID-19 Test-to-Treat site, limiting crucial access to oral antivirals, such as Paxlovid, that can treat SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Timely access to antiviral medications is a major concern, as treatment must begin within five days of symptom onset to reduce the risk of hospitalization.
In March, the Biden administration announced the Test-to-Treat initiative to designate participating pharmacies, community health centers, and long-term care facilities and clinics where patients could receive a COVID-19 test, speak with a clinician, obtain an antiviral prescription, and fill the prescription at no cost.
However, the study found that underrepresented and high-risk populations continue to face disparities in COVID-19 treatment and access.
Rural residents and American Indian or Alaskan Native (AIAIN) individuals were most affected by geographical disparities, with rural residents driving a median of 69.2 minutes to access a Test-to-Treat sites, and AIAN individuals driving a median of 28.5 minutes.
Researchers noted that geographic distance does not ensure equal access to drugs, as other factors, including access to transportation, also might have a role.
White House Summit on COVID-19 Equity
Joined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Biden administration will host on Nov. 16 the White House Summit on COVID-19 Equity and What Works Showcase to highlight equitable practices that have improved COVID-19 outcomes for the nation’s most underrepresented communities and discuss a path moving forward.
Event panel discussions starting at noon ET will focus on the importance of hyperlocal approaches and local leadership on care and how to keep health equity at the center of recovery.
Visit the America’s Essential Hospitals coronavirus resource page for more information about the pandemic.
Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.585.0127 with questions