Select mobile COVID-19 testing centers in New York City will offer antiviral treatments, including Paxlovid, to those who receive a positive result under the nation’s first “Test to Treat” program.
The initiative, launched Thursday, will be rolled out at three mobile testing sites with the goal of expanding to 30 locations in the city by the end of July. Each participating center will have a clinician on site able to prescribe antivirals free of cost to eligible New Yorkers, according to the mayor’s office.
Mayor Eric Adams announced the program alongside other city health officials and White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha.
Adams said while the city was the country’s first COVID-19 epicenter, it is now showing how to fight a future surge in infections.
“By getting lifesaving medications into the hands of New Yorkers minutes after they test positive, we are once again leading the nation to quickly deliver accessible care to those who need it,” Adams said. “This mobile Test to Treat program will save lives today and prepares us for future waves of this pandemic, keeping more New Yorkers safe and healthy.”
The city has partnered with local pharmacies to ensure New Yorkers will be able to pick up the antivirals they are prescribed through the testing sites. In the coming months, the city hopes testing sites will be stocked with Paxlovid, the Pfizer pill authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for early-stage treatment.
Jha emphasized the importance of having access to available treatments as the world continues to battle this pandemic.
“We know COVID isn’t over, and we must ensure lifesaving treatments like Paxlovid are reaching our hardest-hit communities,” Jha said.
This comes as Dr. Anthony Fauci on Tuesday told a summit he is experiencing a COVID “rebound” after he tested positive again four days after completing a five-day course of Paxlovid.
Fauci is not alone in experiencing a resurgence of symptoms after taking the drug. The Centers for Disease Control issued an advisory in May warning patients this could happen, advising those who experience a COVID rebound isolate for at least five additional days.
Fauci, who is currently on his second course of the drug, defended the effectiveness of Paxlovid despite his COVID “rebound.”
He told The New York Times he believed the treatment helped lowered his risk of hospitalization and made his initial symptoms milder.
“Paxlovid did what it was supposed to do,” Fauci said.