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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today, the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) announced the state has received shipments of the Merck and Pfizer oral antiviral treatments for COVID-19.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization for molnupirvar by Merck and an emergency use authorization for Paxlovid™ by Pfizer as oral antiviral treatments of COVID-19.


Early studies indicate these treatment options may reduce severe outcomes from COVID-19 including hospitalization or death. These treatments are recommended for individuals who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19 or have underlying medical conditions.

Consult with your physician about your risk factors when taking these treatments. Both drugs require a prescription.

The Tennessee Department of Health coordinated a distribution plan of molnupiravir and Paxlovid™ with Walmart pharmacies across the state. This treatment is free, and Tennesseans can visit www.walmart.com/covidmedication to find a participating Walmart pharmacy near them. Initial supply in the state is limited as the first allocation from the federal government was 5,000 courses of molnupiravir and 1,000 courses of Paxlovid™. TDH anticipates additional allocations in the coming weeks as production increases.

While antivirals may help treat COVID-19, vaccination is the best approach to prevent infection. Tennesseans age 5 and above are encouraged to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Individuals ages 16 and above who received an mRNA vaccine may also be eligible for a booster shot at six months or more after they complete the initial series.

For adults ages 18 and older who received single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a booster dose is recommended at two or more months after the initial vaccine. More information on vaccine locations, including available vaccine products, is available at vaccines.gov.

The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. Learn more about TDH services and programs at www.tn.gov/health.

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