Our older friends and family members are the most vulnerable if they get COVID-19. It’s something we don’t like to think about, but in fact, 75% of deaths from COVID-19 are in the 65 and older age group. That risk goes down drastically after at least two doses of vaccine, but the oldest – those 80 and older – are still in danger of severe disease and death. The good news is the treatment Paxlovid greatly reduces the worst COVID-19 effects for our older seniors. Vaccination, including with the Omicron booster, and Paxlovid can help them cover all their bases. But not enough seniors are being prescribed this highly effective treatment if they get infected. So, we want to get the word out, and we want you to help by talking to your older friends and loved ones!
Paxlovid is effective.
The most recent findings from the Omicron wave show that Paxlovid reduced hospitalization by 70% and death by 80% for people aged 65+. Most individuals in that study already had some immunity to COVID through a previous infection or vaccination. For elders getting vaccinated and boosted, Paxlovid is proven to help them get better faster and keep them out of the hospital.
Make a plan.
If you have an older person in your life (or even 2 or 3!), why not make a COVID contingency plan? Talk to your older friend or family member, maybe along with their healthcare provider, to see if Paxlovid will work for them. There are some medications that shouldn’t be mixed with Paxlovid. A healthcare provider can give you all the information you need on that. And if your favorite senior doesn’t have a healthcare provider right now, visit the Test to Treat Locator to find a location with a healthcare provider on staff to discuss their medical history and a Paxlovid prescription.
In order to work, Paxlovid needs to be taken within 5 days of being infected and before symptoms become severe. Planning ahead and talking to a doctor now will be more helpful than when your family member or friend is dealing with symptoms or if they get sick over a weekend.
What about Paxlovid and rebound?
Rebound is when symptoms return after treatment is finished or the individual has tested negative. While it’s true patients report rebound with Paxlovid, studies show that rebound also occurs when a person gets infected with COVID-19 and does not take Paxlovid. A return of symptoms may just be a natural part of shaking off the infection. Another rebound study showed that rebound is not dangerous and does not lessen a person’s immunity. In that study, those who developed rebound also made more antibodies to fight off the infection. In the most recent clinical trial data, rebound was not shown to be severe. What we know so far about rebound doesn’t change what Paxlovid can do for the elderly: keep them from suffering severe COVID-19.
Talk about Paxlovid.
Some seniors just might not be aware that Paxlovid can help them avoid the worst of COVID-19. But with a helpful friend or family member and a plan, you can be more confident that your most vulnerable friends and loved ones are using all the safety measures that are available if they become infected.