November 1, 2022
Notes from the Field: Dispensing of Oral Antiviral Drugs for Treatment of COVID-19 by Zip Code–Level Social Vulnerability:
CDC published an MMWR on dispensing of oral antiviral drugs for treatment of COVID-19 by zip code–level social vulnerability in the United States from December 23, 2021 to August 28, 2022. Equitable access to COVID-19 therapeutics is a critical aspect of the distribution program led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Two oral antiviral products, nirmatrelvir/ritonavir (Paxlovid) and molnupiravir (Lagevrio), received emergency use authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December 2021, to reduce the risk for COVID-19–associated hospitalization and death for those patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are at higher risk for severe illness. HHS has been distributing these medications at no cost to recipients since their authorization. Data collected from provider sites during December 23, 2021 to May 21, 2022, indicated substantial disparities in the population-adjusted dispensing rates in high social vulnerability (high-vulnerability) zip codes compared with those in medium- and low-vulnerability zip codes. Specifically, dispensing rates for the 4-week period during April 24 to May 21, 2022, were 122 per 100,000 residents (19% of overall population-adjusted dispensing rates) in high-vulnerability zip codes compared with 247 (42%) in medium-vulnerability and 274 (39%) in low-vulnerability zip codes. This report provides an updated analysis of dispensing rates by zip code–level social vulnerability and highlights important intervention strategies.