(WWLP) – Pfizer is awaiting emergency approval from the federal government on what could be a game-changer for the fight against COVID-19, an antiviral pill that reduces the risk of severe infection.

In Phase 2 clinical trials, Pfizer says the drug called Paxlovid, was 89 percent effective at preventing high-risk people from being hospitalized or dying from COVID-19. This would be the first at-home treatment for the virus.

22News spoke with a local nurse about the choices it will give people who may not want the shot. “I had some patients who didn’t get the shot because they hated needles and they didn’t want to go through that so I think that’s a good thing if that’s an option,” said Nurse Alexis Kumar of Northampton.

Recent lab data also suggests the drug retains its effectiveness against the fast-spreading Omicron Variant. Pfizer is awaiting a review of its emergency use authorization request by the FDA before it can distribute the medication.