Evusheld is not a replacement for COVID-19 vaccines, and everyone eligible to receive one of the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines should do so.
On Dec. 8, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization for AstraZeneca’s Evusheld, a prevention therapy for certain high-risk individuals that can help protect them from COVID-19 before they are exposed to the virus. Evusheld is the first pre-exposure prophylaxis product for COVID-19 apart from vaccines.
Being fully vaccinated and getting your booster shot is the most effective way to protect yourself from COVID-19 (including all of the variants). However, people whose immune systems are so substantially weakened that they do not develop immunity from the vaccines or those who can’t be vaccinated because of severe allergic reactions are at increased risk for COVID-19. For those individuals, medical professionals may recommend Evusheld as a way to offer protection in case those individuals become exposed to the COVID-19 virus.
What is Evusheld?
Evusheld is a combination of two medications given together: tixagevimab and cilgavimab. Both are monoclonal antibodies, which are lab-made proteins that act like antibodies made by your immune system to fight an infection. Evusheld is administered by two injections immediately given one after another. Based on clinical trial data, Evusheld is administered every six months to offer the most protection.
Who can get Evusheld?
Not everyone is eligible for Evusheld. It’s authorized for people ages 12 and older who weigh at least 88 pounds. You also can’t be currently infected with COVID-19 or have a known recent exposure to the virus; that is, be in your isolation or quarantine periods. Additionally, you need to meet one of the following criteria:
- You have a health condition that likely won’t allow your body to develop a strong enough response to the COVID-19 vaccine (e.g., immunocompromised because of cancer currently)
- You’re taking medications that prevent a strong enough response to the COVID-19 vaccine (e.g., chemotherapy or transplant anti-rejection medications)
- You’re unable to get the vaccine due to severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) to all of the COVID-19 vaccines or their ingredients
I meet the criteria for Evusheld. How can I receive it?
The HHS COVID-19 Therapeutics Locator can help you find locations where Evusheld is available. Please do not simply walk in. You need a health care provider to prescribe the treatment for you.
What are the common side effects of Evusheld?
As with all medications, Evusheld may cause side effects, most being mild to moderate. Headache, feeling tired, and cough were the most common side effects during clinical trials. Talk to your health care provider about potential side effects and how to best manage them.
For more information, view the FDA’s fact sheet about Evusheld.
For Healthcare Providers
As of mid-December 2021, South Carolina has received limited doses of Evusheld from the federal government. DHEC expects to receive future allocations off Evusheld from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) based on HHS’s review the national supply.
Health care providers interested in providing any type of monoclonal antibody treatment should contact DHEC at COVID19DRUG@dhec.sc.gov.