COVID illnesses range from very mild to severe, including illness resulting in death. While COVID illness may be mild, serious illness can happen and may cause other medical conditions to become worse. Older people and people of all ages with severe, long-lasting medical conditions including diabetes are at higher risk of being hospitalized for COVID.
Medication to prevent COVID for people who cannot be vaccinated
Evusheld is an investigational medicine from AstraZeneca that can help protect people from getting COVID. It may be used in adults and adolescents ages 12 years and older weighing at least 88 pounds (40 kg) who:
- Do not currently have COVID and have not recently had close contact with someone with COVID, and
- Are moderately or severely immunocompromised and for whom vaccination may not be effective OR have a history of severe allergic reactions to COVID vaccines or their ingredients, such that it would be ineffective or dangerous to receive a COVID vaccine according to the approved schedule.
Evusheld authorized for use before exposure to COVID
Evusheld is given by injections, which contain two different antibodies that can help prevent COVID. Evusheld does not replace vaccination against COVID, nor is it a treatment for COVID. It must be given by a healthcare provider before exposure to COVID. Evusheld is investigational because it is still being studied. In December 2021, the FDA authorized the emergency use of Evusheld for prevention of COVID before exposure only under an Emergency Use Authorization. It is not authorized for prevention of COVID after exposure. Even if receiving Evusheld, taking multiple prevention steps, such as wearing a well-fitting mask and avoiding crowded places, can provide additional protection from COVID.
Protecting against COVID is important
Protecting vulnerable populations from getting COVID helps prevent illness, hospitalization and death. It may also help prevent evolution of the virus that causes COVID, which is an important factor in the emergence of variants.
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