New York City offers Paxlovid for free in mobile COVID-19 test centers

Selected COVID-19 mobile testing centers in New York City will offer antiviral treatments, including Paxlovid, to those who receive a positive result under the country’s first “Test to Treat” program.

Launched on Thursday, the initiative will be rolled out across three mobile test sites with the goal of expanding to 30 locations across the city by the end of July. Each participating center will have an on-site physician who can prescribe free antivirals to eligible New Yorkers, according to the mayor’s office.

Mayor Eric Adams announced the program along with other city health officials and White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha.

Adams said that while the city was the country’s first COVID-19 epicenter, it now shows how to fight a future rise in infections.

“By getting life-saving drugs into the hands of New Yorkers minutes after they test positive, we are once again leading the nation to deliver quickly accessible care to those who need it,” Adams said. “This mobile Test to Treat program will save lives today and prepare us for future waves of this pandemic, helping more New Yorkers stay safe and healthy.”

The city is working with local pharmacies to ensure New Yorkers can pick up the antivirals they’ve been prescribed through the testing sites. In the coming months, the city hopes test sites will be filled with Paxlovid, the Pfizer pill approved by the Food and Drug Administration for early-stage treatment.

Jha stressed the importance of access to available treatments as the world continues to fight this pandemic.

“We know that COVID is not over yet, and we need to make sure that life-saving treatments like Paxlovid reach our worst-affected communities,” Jha said.

This comes as Dr. Anthony Fauci told a summit on Tuesday that he is experiencing a COVID “rebound” after testing positive again four days after completing a five-day course of Paxlovid.

Fauci is not alone in experiencing a flare-up of symptoms after taking the drug. The Centers for Disease Control issued an advisory in May warning patients that this could happen, advising those experiencing a COVID rebound isolate for at least five additional days.

Fauci, who is currently on his second course of medication, has defended Paxlovid’s effectiveness despite its ‘rebound’ from COVID.

He told The New York Times that he believed the treatment lowered his risk of hospitalization and made his initial symptoms milder.

“Paxlovid did what it was supposed to do,” Fauci said.

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