COVID-19 Preventive Medications
Vaccines are the best defense available against COVID-19. All patients who are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination should receive a COVID-19 vaccine. To sign up for your COVID-19 vaccine please visit, https://vaccinenm.org/registration.html.
For immune compromised individuals can’t build a good immune response to COVID-19 vaccination or those who have severe adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines, an alternative prevention option is available. Providers will refer to this option as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) because it is a medication that is taken by individuals who are not currently COVID-19 positive and have not had a recent exposure to a COVID positive individual to prevent COVID-19 disease.
Frequently Asked Questions
Please read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) so you can help protect yourself, your family, your friends, and your community.
What medication is currently available for COVID-19 pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)?
Evusheld (tixagevimab and cilgavimab)
The medication is a combination of two long-acting monoclonal antibodies, administered together every 6 months.
What are monoclonal antibodies?
Monoclonal antibodies are man-made antibodies produced in a laboratory to mimic the immune system’s ability to fight disease.
These medications work by blocking the virus from attaching to human cells and therefore stopping it from causing further infection.
Is Evusheld FDA approved?
No, this medication has been granted an emergency use authorization (EUA).
It is still considered investigational treatment.
What is an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)?
This is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorization of an unapproved product or unapproved uses of an approved product for emergency use.
EUA is NOT the same as FDA approval.
EUA medications are considered investigational.
How is the medication given?
It is administered as two separate consecutive intramuscular (IM) injections.
Evusheld may be given every 6 months.
Patients are observed for 1 hour after receiving the injection.
Who qualifies for COVID pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)?
The FDA has limited use of this medication to patients who:
- are moderately to severely immunocompromised due to a medical condition, from taking immunosuppressive medication or treatments, and may not mount an adequate immune response to complete vaccination, or
- cannot receive any available COVID-19 vaccine due to a severe adverse reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine component.
Additionally, patients must:
- be 12 years of age and older
- weigh at least 88 pounds
- not be currently infected with COVID-19, and
- not have been recently exposed to a COVID-19 positive individual
If I test positive for COVID-19 or I am exposed to someone with COVID-19, can I receive Evusheld?
Evusheld cannot be given if you are currently infected with COVID-19 or have been recently exposed to a COVID-19 positive individual.
If you recently tested positive for COVID-19 or were exposed to someone with COVID-19, talk to your provider about monoclonal antibody treatment.
Please refer to the COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatment tab for more information. https://cv.nmhealth.org/covid-19-monoclonal-antibody-treatments/
Can I get Evusheld instead of a COVID-19 vaccine?
Pre-exposure prophylaxis with EVUSHELD is not a substitute for vaccination in individuals for whom COVID-19 vaccination is recommended.
Individuals with moderate to severe immune compromise who may derive benefit from COVID-19 vaccination, should receive COVID-19 vaccination.
Evusheld is restricted by the FDA to patients with moderate to severe immune compromise and patients who cannot receive any available COVID-19 vaccine due to a severe adverse reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine component.
Is there a cost for this treatment?
There may be some costs associated with the treatment. Patients should talk to their provider regarding the cost of treatment and available coverage options.
There is no cost to the patient for the medication itself.
Costs associated with providing the treatment may be billed to the patient’s insurance or to Medicare/Medicaid.
Uninsured or underinsured patients can have providers bill treatment costs to the HHS COVID-19 Uninsured Program or Coverage Assistance Fund.
Do I need a referral from my healthcare provider to receive this treatment?
Yes, you will need to see one of the following specialists: HIV/AIDS care, transplant services, oncology, hematology, rheumatology, neurology, gastroenterology, and allergy/immunology
Primary care providers treating immunocompromised patients shall refer the patient to a COVID PrEP provider.
I am eligible. Why should I consider getting Evusheld?
The PROVENT clinical trial for Evusheld showed that patients who received the treatment had 77% reduction in risk of developing symptomatic COVID-19.
Studies are still ongoing.
Are there reasons I cannot receive one of these treatments?
You have an allergy to an ingredient in Evusheld.
Talk to your doctor about the risks versus benefit if you have thrombocytopenia or any coagulation disorder.
Talk to your doctor about the risks versus benefit if you are high risk of cardiovascular events.
I recently received a COVID-19 vaccine. When can I get Evusheld?
Eligible individuals, who have received a COVID-19 vaccine, should wait at least two weeks after vaccination prior to receiving Evusheld.
Evusheld is a combination of monoclonal antibodies. Monoclonal antibodies can reduce the effectiveness of your COVID-19 vaccine if given too soon.
Can I receive the treatment if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
Evusheld may be used during pregnancy. Pregnant women should discuss the benefits and risks of this medication with their provider.
Mothers may continue breastfeeding after receiving this treatment. Breastfeeding mothers should discuss the benefits and risks of this medication with their provider.
Does Evusheld have side effects?
If you receive this treatment, you will be monitored during, and for a minimum of one hour following the injections for adverse events. The medication may cause:
- allergic reactions and injection-related reactions
- Headache, fatigue, and cough
- Injection site reactions such as bruising and redness
- Serious cardiac adverse events have been reported (myocardial infarctions, cardiac failure, arrythmia, heart pain, cardio-respiratory arrest, stroke)
There is limited clinical data available for Evusheld. Serious and unexpected adverse events may occur that have not been previously reported with Evusheld use.
How long is the treatment?
The intramuscular injections take only seconds, after which you will be observed for reactions for at least one hour.
What happens if I get a reaction after I go home?
After you receive the treatment, you will receive a handout with instructions on what do after you leave, and what to do if a reaction does occur.
If I receive COVID PrEP, does this mean I won’t get COVID-19?
- It is still possible that you could develop COVID-19.
- You should continue to follow the recommendations provided to you by the healthcare provider who gave you the treatment and your own provider.
- It is important to continue following federal and state guidelines on quarantining for COVID-19 when indicated, wearing a mask, social distancing and washing your hands.
Is Evusheld effective against Omicron?
- A 12-30 fold reduction in activity was found when testing omicron virus in a laboratory setting. The impact in a laboratory setting is not an accurate assessment of the reduction in efficacy in a human. Studies with omicron virus are ongoing. The clinical impact of this reduction is not known at this time.
- Talk to your doctor if Evusheld is an option that may benefit you.