Saturday , 28 May 2022
Image credit: CDC

New at-home COVID-19 treatment now available in Alberta

Albertans with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms who are at high risk of developing serious disease will soon have a second option for early treatment.

The Alberta Government says the first shipments of Paxlovid were available to Albertans starting on Jan. 31. Initial supply will be limited, so eligibility will be limited to those who will benefit the most. This medication can cause side effects, so it will be available only by prescription after an assessment by a clinician.

Paxlovid is the first COVID-19 treatment approved by Health Canada that can be taken orally at home and the second COVID-19 early treatment option available in Alberta after Sotrovimab was made available last year.

Treatment with the medication must be started within five days of the onset of symptoms and is intended for use by individuals who have immunosuppressive conditions, are unvaccinated and over the age of 65, or are unvaccinated and over 18 with pre-existing medical conditions that put them at higher risk of severe illness or death.

“It’s important that we keep as many Albertans out of hospital as possible,” Jason Kenney, Premier of Alberta said. “Having Paxlovid available for Albertans to use in their homes is just one more way we can do that. Due to supply and where it will provide the most benefit, access to Paxlovid will be limited initially, but we will continue to press the federal government for more supplies.”

Eligibility for Paxlovid

Paxlovid is for use in patients who have a confirmed COVID-19 infection, are within five days of experiencing their first symptoms and meet certain medical criteria.

Eligible conditions include:

Individuals who have no contraindications and one of the following immunocompromising conditions, regardless of vaccination status:

  • transplant recipients
  • oncology patients who have received chemotherapy or other immunosuppressive treatment since December 2020
  • inflammatory conditions, such as:
    • rheumatoid arthritis;
    • lupus;
    • inflammatory bowel disease;

Individuals who have no contraindications, are unvaccinated and:

  • age 65 and older
  • age 18 and older with a pre-existing health condition, including:
    • diabetes (taking medication for treatment)
    • obesity (BMI >30)
    • congestive heart failure
    • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and moderate to severe asthma
“Making treatment options like Paxlovid available, combined with Alberta’s robust vaccine rollout, offers the best protection against severe COVID-19 outcomes,” Jason Copping, Minister of Health said. “Thank you to every Albertan who has chosen to protect themselves, their families and their community by getting vaccinated. I continue to encourage every Albertan to get fully vaccinated, especially if they are now eligible for a booster.”

About Arthur C. Green

Arthur C. Green is an award winning journalist and is from Whitbourne Newfoundland. Green graduated from the CNA Journalism Program. Arthur also studied Business Marketing and Political Science at Memorial University in Essex England and St. John's Newfoundland. Green has worked for such organizations as CBC, CBC Radio, NTV, Saltwire, Great West Media, CKLB Radio, River Radio, Vista Radio, and Postmedia. He also loves Jiggs Dinner and can fillet a Codfish.