DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — On Monday, Merck said it’s seeking authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for what would be considered the first antiviral pill to treat COVID-19.

Dr. Karen Landers with the Alabama Department of Public Health said the most important information at the moment is to remind the community that prevention is always better than treatment.

Medical experts said the data that Merck is releasing regarding its pill shows it can be useful in reducing hospitalizations and deaths. Information Dr. Landers has seen shows the Merck pill reduces these chances by only 50 percent, which she believes is not enough.

Landers adds the best way to avoid hospitalizations and deaths, is through mitigation and vaccination.

“Again, we want good therapeutics, and we expect potentially another antiviral to come forth as we battle this novel virus it is really going to require persons being vaccinated,” Dr. Landers said.”

Dr. Landers emphasizes this pill is not a miracle pill. Medical experts said not everyone is going to be eligible to use this form of treatment for COVID and again, it only helps reduce hospitalizations by about 50 percent.