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Anti-Covid tablets now available here

Friday 30 December 2022 | Written by Cameron Scott | Published in Health, Local, National

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Anti-Covid tablets now available here
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 stage”.

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 effects.