Less Black and Hispanic COVID Patients Receive Paxlovid Antiviral Therapy

According to a recent government study, white individuals are more likely to receive antiviral medications like Paxlovid to treat COVID-19 infections than are black and Hispanic patients.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discovered that Paxlovid was prescribed to Black patients 36% less frequently than White patients, and to Hispanic patients 30% less frequently, in a study of more than 700,000 COVID-19 patients.

According to researcher Tegan Boehmer, acting lead of the CDC’s Healthy Community Design Initiative, “many reasons probably contributed to reduced Paxlovid therapy among racial and ethnic minority groups.”

Why the discrepancy? According to Boehmer, the reasons include the fact that minority patients are less likely to have access to COVID-19 treatments, unfavourable interactions with healthcare professionals that damage trust, and a lack of knowledge about available treatments.

She continued, “It’s also plausible that unacknowledged biases or racism among medical professionals could have an impact on prescribing behaviours.”

Boehmer noticed that differences in Paxlovid treatment for Black and Hispanic patients were often more pronounced among individuals at higher risk for severe COVID, including those aged 50 and older and those with compromised immune systems. She emphasised that it was crucial that everyone who was eligible received the suggested therapies.

Paxlovid is an antiviral medication that can prevent high-risk individuals avoid becoming sick to the point where they need to be hospitalised.

According to Boehmer, racial and ethnic minority populations are obtaining COVID therapies less frequently, despite the fact that quick and early access to effective COVID medicines is crucial to safeguard those who are most at risk for serious illness.

In order to address treatment inequities, Boehmer continued, “raising knowledge of available COVID-19 treatments among patients and health care professionals can help.”

The best defence against serious illness and hospitalisation is to maintain current COVID-19 vaccinations, including new boosters, she said. If you contract the infection, get in touch with a medical practitioner right once to see if you qualify for treatment.

These discrepancies in care were what medical experts observed throughout the epidemic, according to Dr. Debbie Salas-Lopez, senior vice president for Community and Population Health at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, New York.

She claimed that the equity and distribution problems with Paxlovid were comparable to those with the vaccination programme. You need to consider primary care pharmacy availability, especially in economically underprivileged communities.

Salas-Lopez pointed out that community reluctance also has an impact. “Since these are new vaccines and treatments, not all of our community members are familiar with them, but in particular, those who have had a poor experience with the healthcare system.

Additionally, she added, “recommendations for testing, vaccinations, and drugs for treatment can change quickly, making it challenging for physicians and community members to keep up with all the changes — your head spins.

Salas-Lopez said that structural racism might possibly be at play.

She cited the inability of the study’s authors to take into account the thousands of Paxlovid dosages distributed by walk-in clinics and pharmacies, which may have affected the findings.

According to Salas-Lopez, health care systems bear some of the blame for putting a stop to these inequalities.

To pinpoint the gaps in community health care, her health care system established a task force on health equity. To close these gaps, they subsequently started outreach activities.

Salas-Lopez stated that “health systems must work hard to solve the issue of disparity.” “To do that, you need a mission and a vision, followed by action.”

The report was released on October 28 in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. It followed patients from January to July of this year.

Information about

Visit the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for additional information on COVID-19.

SOURCES: Debbie Salas-Lopez, MD, MPH, senior vice president, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Tegan Boehmer, PhD, acting lead, Healthy Community Design Initiative, Community and Population Health, Northwell Health, New Hyde Park, N.Y.; Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Oct. 28, 2022

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