COVID-19 pill rollout stymied by shortages as omicron rages

<p>FILE - This image provided by Pfizer shows the company's COVID-19 Paxlovid pills. Pfizer's and Merck's COVID-19 pills that were supposed to be an important weapon against the pandemic in the U.S. are in short supply and have played little role in the fight against the omicron wave of infections. </p>

Pfizer via AP, File

FILE - This image provided by Pfizer shows the company's COVID-19 Paxlovid pills. Pfizer's and Merck's COVID-19 pills that were supposed to be an important weapon against the pandemic in the U.S. are in short supply and have played little role in the fight against the omicron wave of infections. 

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two brand-new COVID-19 pills that were supposed to be an important weapon against the pandemic in the U.S. are in short supply and have played little role in the fight against the omicron wave of infections.

The problem is that production is not yet at full strength and that the pill considered to be far superior, Pfizer’s, takes six to eight months to manufacture.

While the supply is expected to improve dramatically in the coming months, doctors are clamoring for the pills now, not just because omicron is causing an explosion of cases but because two antibody drugs that were once the go-to treatments don’t work as well against the variant.

“This should be a really joyous time because we now have highly effective antiviral pills,” said Erin McCreary, a pharmacist and administrator at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “Instead, this feels like the hardest and most chaotic stretch of the pandemic.” Read the full story here:

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