COVID-19 antiviral pills coming to the NWT

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Anti-COVID pills will soon be available in the NWT.

Earlier this week, Health Canada approved Pfizer’s Paxlovid antiviral drug.

Canada has received doses to treat about 30,000 people with another shipment of 120,000 on the way by the end of the March.

The Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority says the doses will be allotted per capita across the country. The NWT doses will then be distributed to each region and available for residents in all communities.

Treatment reserved for high-risk people

Paxlovid must be prescribed by a doctor or nurse practitioner.

“Decisions about who may be eligible for this new treatment option will be made by NWT physicians,” reads a news release from NTHSSA. It adds the criteria for prescription are still being finalized.

The drug is used to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms in people that have a high risk of hospitalization or death from the virus, such as people over 60 or that are immunocompromised, among others.

The treatment is to prevent hospitalizations and is not available to people that are already in hospital due to COVID-19.

The treatment comes in packages of two different medicines in three tablets. Ultimately, the medications prevent the virus from multiplying, making it easier for the body to overcome the infection.

Additional details on Paxlovid are available here, including about two dozen drugs it should not be used with.

Pfizer has reported the drug is 89 per cent effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths in high-risk individuals.

Despite the additional treatment option, public health is still calling on residents to abide by ongoing orders and get vaccinated.

About the Author

Francis Tessier-Burns
Francis has been a general news reporter with CKLB since January 2019. Originally from rural Ontario, he first came to the NWT in 2016 as an intern with Up Here magazine and fell in love with the North. In his time with CKLB, he's had the immense pleasure and honour of learning about northern Indigenous cultures. Otherwise, you can find him hanging around the Legislative Assembly. If you have a story or want to chat, reach out to francis@cklbradio.com