Province asks for patience again amid surge in demand for Paxlovid

·2 min read
Paxlovid is currently available for Islanders over the age of 50 or those over the age of 18 who are immunocompromised. (Laura Meader/CBC - image credit)
Paxlovid is currently available for Islanders over the age of 50 or those over the age of 18 who are immunocompromised. (Laura Meader/CBC - image credit)

Health P.E.I. is calling for patience once again amid a surge in demand for the COVID-19 antiviral treatment Paxlovid.

The province says it's seeing between 30 and 40 new referrals per day for the treatment, with a total of 3,725 doses being administered since January when it was approved for use by Health Canada.

Director of hospital services Cheryl Banks said on Thursday the demand shows campaigns to promote the treatment in the province have been successful.

"It's really shown to be beneficial in decreasing the severity of disease and the risk of hospitalization," she said.

"It is hard to get to everyone. So if you can contact your own health care provider, that's probably the quickest way that you're going to be able to get of it ... We just need a little bit of patience in that. You may not get a call the day that you get a positive test or even for a couple of days after. But our goal is to reach everyone before day five."

Paxlovid is currently available for most Islanders over the age of 50 and those over 18 who are immunocompromised.

The five-day oral treatment needs to be taken within five days of the onset of symptoms.

Only nurse practitioners and physicians can prescribe Paxlovid, though regulations recently changed to allow for pharmacists to do so as is the case in other provinces.

"There is a little bit of groundwork that needs to happen in order for them to be able to do that. So we are kind of working to get that done as quickly as we possibly can," Banks said.

"We just need to kind of get them the information and the resources they need to be able to do that safely."

Those who want access to Paxlovid need to get a confirmatory COVID-19 test done at one of the province's testing centres, then get in touch with their primary care provider or call 811.

A few weeks ago, the province announced it had successfully cleared a backlog of patients waiting to receive the treatment which began on the July 1 holiday weekend.

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