An effective but difficult-to-access treatment for Covid-19 became more available this week as the Province re-instated testing for select groups at higher risk of hospitalization or death.
Paxlovid, manufactured by Pfizer, is an oral antiviral medication shown in clinical trials to be highly effective at preventing serious illness if it is taken within five days of the onset of symptoms. Although the drug was approved for use in Canada and arrived in Ontario months ago, very little of it was given out because it was too difficult to access.
To get the drug, you first needed to get a PCR test at the first sign of symptoms - at a time when few tests are available - then get a positive test to a physician who will give you a prescription and then get that prescription to a pharmacist who has Paxlovid in stock. All within five days.
That was made easier April 11 as the Province made both testing and Paxlovid available to the following high-risk groups:
*Individuals 18 and over with a weakened immune system
* Anyone aged 70 and over
* Anyone 60 and over with fewer than three vaccine doses
* Anyone 18 and over with fewer than three vaccine doses and at least one chronic medical condition
Although I question the merit of preferential treatment to people who have chosen to have fewer vaccine doses, the greater availability of Paxlovid is certainly something you should be aware of and perhaps plan for by lining up the sequence of events you might follow if you are high risk and get sick. It also looks like rapid tests could also get you a prescription.
Further information and a list of pharmacies carrying Paxlovid can be found at COVID-19 antiviral treatment | COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Ontario.