By relying exclusively on an antiviral drug, it's a bit of a roll of the dice in terms of how you will do. Clearly, it's going to be better than nothing, but it's a high-stakes game to play. — Dr. Peter Hotez, a vaccine expert and professor of molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine
By relying exclusively on an antiviral drug, it's a bit of a roll of the dice in terms of how you will do. Clearly, it's going to be better than nothing, but it's a high-stakes game to play. — Dr. Peter Hotez, a vaccine expert and professor of molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine

These are treatments. This is for the unfortunate who will get sick. This should not be a reason not to protect yourself and to put yourself, your household and society in danger. — Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer
These are treatments. This is for the unfortunate who will get sick. This should not be a reason not to protect yourself and to put yourself, your household and society in danger. — Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer

COVID-19 Pills Are Coming, but No Substitute for Vaccines, Disease Experts Say
Oral antiviral pills from Merck & Co and Pfizer Inc/BioNTech SE have been shown to significantly blunt the worst outcomes of COVID-19 if taken early enough, but doctors warn vaccine hesitant people not to confuse the benefit of the treatments with prevention afforded by vaccines.

While 72% of American adults have gotten a first shot of the vaccine, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll, the pace of vaccination has slowed, as political partisanship in the United States divides views on the value and safety of vaccines against the coronavirus.

Vaccine mandates by employers, states and the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden have helped increase vaccinations but also fueled that controversy.

Some disease experts fear the arrival of oral COVID-19 treatments may further impede vaccination campaigns. Preliminary results of a survey of 3,000 U.S. citizens by the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Public Health suggest the drugs could "hamper the effort to get people vaccinated," said Scott Ratzan, an expert in health communication at CUNY, who led the research.

Ratzan said one out of every eight of those surveyed said they would rather get treated with a pill than be vaccinated. "That is a high number," Ratzan said.

The concern follows news on Friday from Pfizer, maker of a leading COVID-19 vaccine, that its experimental antiviral pill Paxlovid cut the risk of hospitalization and death from the disease by 89% in high-risk adults.

... "By relying exclusively on an antiviral drug, it's a bit of a roll of the dice in terms of how you will do. Clearly, it's going to be better than nothing, but it's a high-stakes game to play," said Dr. Peter Hotez, a vaccine expert and professor of molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine.

Six infectious disease experts interviewed by Reuters were equally enthusiastic about the prospect of effective new treatments for COVID-19 and agreed they were no substitute for vaccines.

Choosing not to get vaccinated "would be a tragic mistake," said Albert Bourla, chief executive officer of Pfizer Inc. "These are treatments. This is for the unfortunate who will get sick," Bourla told Reuters in an interview on Friday. "This should not be a reason not to protect yourself and to put yourself, your household and society in danger."
Read the full article: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/962528