Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) treatment pill Paxlovid is seen in a box, at Misericordia hospital in Grosseto, Italy, February 8, 2022. REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini/File Photo
Te Marae Ora’s Facebook announcement about the new availability of the anti-Covid-19 drug Paxlovid in the Cook Islands says the medication is expensive, in short supply globally and must be used properly to optimise its benefits and minimise risks.
Though TMO’s announcement
doesn’t explain this, the drug comes in tablet form.
It has been shown to reduce
hospitalisation and death from Covid-19 in unvaccinated people if started
within five days of symptom onset, TMO says.
“In the Cook Islands, like in
NZ, Paxlovid will be reserved for those people 18 years old or older who are
most at risk of hospitalisation.
“It must be prescribed by
designated TMO prescribers and will be dispensed at the Rarotonga Hospital
pharmacy if it is appropriate to do so. Paxlovid interacts with many other
medicines and for each person’s safety, it needs to be carefully checked.”
The announcement says the drug
will not be available from private pharmacies in the Cook Islands “at this
It adds that you may be
eligible for Paxlovid if you are 18 years or older, or have confirmed
symptomatic Covid-19 or have symptoms of Covid-19 and are a household contact
of a positive case. You are also eligible if your symptoms started within the
last five days, you are 50 years old or older and haven’t had two doses of Covid-19
vaccination – or if your immune system isn’t working properly.
If you have other conditions
that put you at risk of hospitalisation or due to Covid-19, a doctor will
assess this, the announcement says.
“If you have Covid-19 like
symptoms take a Covid-19 test (either at any health clinic or a home test) and
seek medical advice by contacting Tupapa Primary Health Care on 20066.”
Meanwhile, Britain’s National
Health System website explains that like all medicines, Paxlovid has common
side effects including diarrhea, nausea or vomiting and changes to your sense
of taste. The site says the tablets are believed to have no serious side