Ontario releases guidelines for who can receive Paxlovid treatment for COVID-19

pax cp

Ontario is prioritizing older, unvaccinated residents and immunocompromised individuals for a new antiviral COVID-19 treatment.

The province received its first shipment of Paxlovid last week, and Health Minister Christine Elliott had said the drug would be directed toward adults at the highest risk.

Ontario has now released its guidelines for who is eligible for the treatment, including immunocompromised adults, unvaccinated people aged 60 and over, and unvaccinated people aged 50 and over if they have one or more risk factors, or are First Nation, Inuit or Metis individuals.

The treatment, currently available in limited quantities, will be available at clinical assessment centres throughout the province, though not all of the 75 centres will necessarily have the antivirals on hand.

People who would qualify for Paxlovid have to first test positive for COVID-19, and the province says eligible individuals can receive either a PCR test or a rapid test at those sites.

Treatment with Paxlovid - six pills a day for five days - has to start within five days of symptoms beginning in order to be effective.