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Ontario government allowing pharmacists to prescribe Paxlovid

DAN CEARNS, The Standard

DURHAM/KAWARTHA LAKES: The Ontario government is expanding access to Paxlovid, an antiviral treatment option for COVID-19.

At a press conference, on Thursday, December 8th, Ontario Health Minister Sylvia Jones announced, pharmacists in the province will now be able to prescribe Paxlovid to their clients.

In a press release, the Ontario government stated, these prescriptions will be made “to eligible individuals in-person or virtually (such as by telephone) at no cost.”

“This change will expand access, offer increased protection to our most vulnerable, and mitigate pressures on the province’s hospitals,” Minister Jones explained at the press conference.

But she also stressed the importance of vaccination.

“Vaccination continues to be the most effective way we can protect ourselves and our loved ones, from the most serious effects of COVID-19, as well as the flu. This is why healthcare professionals continue to strongly recommend, all Ontarians stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations, get their flu shot and wear a mask indoors in crowded settings.”

The press release noted, conditions which qualify eligible recipients for access to Paxlovid include: having symptoms consistent with COVID-19; having a positive COVID-19 test and if the person is 60 years of age or older; being an immunocompromised person, who is 18 years of age or older, or is an individual who is 18 to 59 years of age and “at a higher risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes, including having chronic medical conditions (such as diabetes, heart or lung disease) or inadequate immunity against COVID-19.”

Paxlovid will still be available through physicians or nurse practitioners, as well as clinical assessment centres.

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