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The COVID-19 Anti-Viral Pill Paxlovid Is Now In BC & Here's Who Is Eligible To Receive It

"This is another positive step forward in our COVID-19 journey."

Western Canada Editor
The COVID-19 Anti-Viral Pill Paxlovid Is Now In BC & Here's Who Is Eligible To Receive It

The COVID-19 anti-viral pill called Paxlovid is now available in B.C. to treat some people who are battling COVID-19.

Two weeks ago, Health Canada approved the oral medication that can be used at home to treat COVID-19, to help prevent serious illness. The medication is a combination of two different drugs, called nirmatrelvir and ritonavir.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Dr. Bonnie Henry said that this is "another tool that we have in our toolbox to help us manage this pandemic."

In order to determine how to best distribute the medication, they collected data on who is at most risk of severe illness and hospitalization due to COVID-19. This helped the government create a plan to distribute Paxlovid, which B.C. only has "limited amounts" of right now, said Dr. Henry.

People who are at high risk and have immune-compromising conditions will get the medication now.

"This is another positive step forward in our COVID-19 journey, and the treatment is specifically for people who are at highest risk of having more severe illness and hospitalization," she said

Every patient with COVID-19 doesn't qualify for the medication though. Dr. Henry called it a "very challenging" medication combination and said that it negatively interacts with some other drugs.

This means that "many of the people who would potentially benefit from this medication, take some of those medications that interact with it," she added.

If someone is able to take the medication, they need to take it within five days of the onset of COVID-19 symptoms. In order to do this, Dr. Henry said that people who are eligible will need access to testing.

Dr. Henry said that they have aligned their testing strategy with the supply of treatments that they do have access to right now.

If a high-risk person gets tested, the government will then reach out to them to distribute the medication "through a proactive process of monitoring our lab data," Dr. Henry said.

She also encouraged people to get vaccinated, in order to continue reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on COVID-19 vaccines and can answer any questions you may have.

    Morgan Leet
    Western Canada Editor
    Morgan Leet is the Western Canada Editor for Narcity Canada's Western Desk focused on interprovincial travel, and is based in Vancouver.
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