First shipment of Pfizer antiviral pill expected this week in Sask.

Paxlovid is the first antiviral for COVID-19 to be approved by Health Canada.

Saskatoon StarPhoenix 2 minute read January 19, 2022

The lineup to for the drive-thru COVID-19 testing at the old Costco building extended well beyond the parking lot and spilling all the way back along Victoria Avenue on Tuesday, January 4, 2022 in Regina. TROY FLEECE / Regina Leader-Post

Saskatchewan is expected to receive its first batch this week of a recently approved antiviral drug meant to help fight COVID-19.

Pfizer’s Paxlovid antiviral was approved Monday by Health Canada. The drug is the first antiviral for COVID-19 approved by the Canadian regulator.

A provincial government media release issued Tuesday announced a shipment of Paxlovid is expected to arrive this week in the province. Details on eligibility and access are expected to be announced in the coming days, with supplies of the drug expected to be limited at first, then increasing over the course of this year.

The pill, taken twice a day for five days is meant to stop the COVID-19 virus from multiplying, helping people overcome the infection and potentially recover faster. It is recommended for those who test positive for COVID-19 and who are at high risk of hospitalization or death from the virus.

Meanwhile, the province’s monoclonal antibody treatment program continues.

The province announced Tuesday that people are eligible for treatment with monoclonal antibodies if they test positive via either a rapid antigen or PCR test, are either unvaccinated or immunocompromised, are within seven days of becoming symptomatic and are either over 55, or are over 18 with a specific high-risk comorbidity. This changes previously announced guidelines for the program which had required people to begin treatment within five days of becoming symptomatic.

While the province is offering Paxlovid and monoclonal antibody treatments, people were again encouraged Tuesday to get vaccinated if they haven’t already done so.

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