FILE - This image provided by Pfizer shows the company’s COVID-19 Paxlovid pills. Pfizer’s and Merck’s COVID-19 pills that were supposed to be an important weapon against the pandemic in the U.S. are in short supply and have played little role in the fight against the omicron wave of infections. (Pfizer via AP, File)

FILE - This image provided by Pfizer shows the company’s COVID-19 Paxlovid pills. Pfizer’s and Merck’s COVID-19 pills that were supposed to be an important weapon against the pandemic in the U.S. are in short supply and have played little role in the fight against the omicron wave of infections. (Pfizer via AP, File)

Enough Pfizer antiviral to treat 30K people already in Canada; enough for 120K more coming

Clinical trials show Paxlovid can reduce risk of severe disease by 90% if given early

There is already enough of the newly approved Pfizer antiviral in Canada to treat 30,000 people, federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said during a Monday (Jan. 17) press conference.

Paxlovid was approved by Health Canada earlier on Monday morning. It is a combination of two different drugs, that are to be given within five days of infection. Together the drugs showed to be almost 90 per cent effective at preventing hospitalization or death among higher risk patients with COVID-19.

Duclos said that an additional 120,000 treatment course are on the way, set to arrive by the end of March. A full course of Paxlovid involves two doses a day for five days.

The federal health minister said the limited supply of Paxlovid means that the antiviral will be used on patients at highest risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19, including the elderly who are unvaccinated, severely immune-compromised patients, long-term care residents, Indigenous Peoples and those over the age of 60 living in rural and remote communities.

Duclos said that although the new antiviral will be important in reducing COVID-19 deaths, it’s important for Canadians to get vaccinated so they can reduce their chances of needing medical treatment for the virus.

READ MORE: Health Canada approves Pfizer COVID-19 antiviral treatment


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