Lack of awareness over COVID-19 antiviral pill causing barrier to access: experts – GLOBAL

April 11, 2022

Health Canada approved Pfizer’s Paxlovid COVID-19 antiviral pill for use against COVID-19 in January this year, but with a large supply of these pills available, experts say there is a lack of awareness among the public for who qualifies and how to access them.

According to Health Canada, Paxlovid can be given to adults 18 and older who are positive for COVID-19 and experiencing mild to moderate illness and at high risk of becoming seriously ill.

The agency currently recommends prioritizing severely immuno-compromised patients, people over 80 who haven’t had all their vaccine shots, and people over 60 living in remote and rural locations, long-term care homes and First Nations.

How does this treatment work?
The treatment, which has to be prescribed, involves taking three pills of two different drugs — nirmatrelvir and ritonavir — twice a day, for five days. It should be started after a positive COVID-19 test and within five days from the onset of symptoms, according to Dr. Sohal Goyal, lead physician at the Mississauga Medical Arts — COVID, Cold and Flu Care Clinic.

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