Saskatchewan has received a limited quantity of 900 courses from the federal supply, but more shipments are expected, according to a statement from the government on Tuesday.
Paxlovid, the first oral antiviral pill made to treat COVID-19, was just given approval by Health Canada.
Pills are supposed to be taken twice a day for five days to stop the virus from multiplying in the body, to help people with lower immunity to COVID-19 overcome the virus and stop progression to hospitalization.
However, there are a set of eligibility rules that come with the medication.
Paxlovid is only recommended for adults who are over 18 years of age. Residents need to be symptomatic and be within five days of developing symptoms.
Eligibility also requires people to receive a positive PCR or rapid test result for mild to moderate COVID-19.
Those wanting the treatment cannot have any medical conditions that would make treatment inappropriate, according to the government. In addition, people need to meet the following criteria:
- Immunocompromised, regardless of vaccine status;
- 55 years of age and older and not fully vaccinated; or
- Medical condition that puts the individual at high risk and they are not fully vaccinated.
The government adds that Paxlovid is only being given to eligible patients through referral by HealthLine 811. Residents are directed to call HealthLine 811 for further assessment of eligibility if they believe they meet the criteria.
Current supply has been distributed to select community pharmacies across Saskatchewan. This includes working with Indigenous Services Canada to ensure some are available for First Nations and Métis communities.
The provincial government is still encouraging the public to go receive their COVID-19 vaccine. Over 70,000 vaccine appointments are available through the Saskatchewan Health Authority clinics and a number of pharmacies across the province.
“While Saskatchewan supports new treatments for those most at risk for severe COVID-19 illnesses, vaccination remains the best tool available to prevent hospitalizations and death due to COVID-19,” reads the government release.
“Immunization does not offer absolute protection against COVID-19 but improves your body’s defense against the virus. It is safe and effective.”
© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.