tested positive? See if you qualify for Paxlovid and how to get it


The state has launched a telehealth program to give people free access to COVID therapeutics regardless of insurance status.

The antiviral drug Paxlovid is taken for five days. Rachel Wisniewski/The Washington Post

It used to be difficult to get treatments for COVID-19 at home, but now you can access them after a quick telemedicine appointment, regardless of your insurance status.

Paxlovid, an antiviral drug from Pfizer, has been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization or death in high-risk adults by nearly 90% when given soon after the onset of symptoms.

It is important that treatment with Paxlovid is started early, particularly within five days of the onset of symptoms. So don’t wait after a positive test to see if you get sick.

dr Shira Doron, the hospital epidemiologist at Tufts Medical Center, told Boston.com in April that the currently approved COVID-19 treatments are aimed at preventing hospitalizations and serious illness.

“The way it works keeps it from getting worse,” Doron said. “As soon as you get worse your immune system kicks in and messes up a bit and causes the worse symptoms and the drugs aren’t for the immune system, they’re for the virus. The drugs kill the virus [and] this must be done before this second phase of the disease sets in.”

Paxlovid is actually a combination of two drugs: nirmatrelvir, which stops the virus from replicating, and ritonavir, which increases levels of antiviral drugs. It can’t reverse the damage done by a virus, it can only stop the virus from progressing, which is why Yale Medicine says it needs to be taken early.

So if you end up getting a positive test result, either with a home test or a lab test, here’s what you can do.

Who can get Paxlovid?

According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, nearly 40% of Massachusetts residents may be eligible for therapeutic treatments for COVID-19.

More specifically, anyone with a risk factor for a serious illness is eligible for Pfizer’s five-day pill regimen.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention created a more comprehensive list of conditions that put you at increased risk, but here are some of the risk factors identified by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health:

  • Cancer
  • Chronic lung, liver, heart or kidney disease
  • diabetes
  • disabilities
  • Immune Deficient Conditions
  • neurological conditions
  • obesity
  • physical inactivity
  • pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • stroke
  • substance use disorders

People over the age of 65 are also eligible, according to a Health Ministry fact sheet.

To qualify for treatment, you must also have a positive COVID-19 test resulting in a symptomatic infection that has not yet required hospitalization, according to the DPH. The treatment is only available to people over 12 years old who weigh more than 40 kg.

How can you access Paxlovid?

Telemedicine providers are available through government organizations every day from 8am to 10pm to determine if Paxlovid is the right treatment for you.

Both the telemedicine visit and prescription are free regardless of your insurance status and are available to people over the age of 18 who test positive and have symptoms, according to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services.

Each telemedicine visit consists of a brief initial interview followed by a video consultation with a physician, depending on the state.

After the telemedicine appointment, depending on the state, either a prescription for Paxlovid will be filled out at your local pharmacy or the overnight treatment will be shipped free of charge.

The service, which launched earlier this month, is in partnership with Color Health.

“…Now anyone who gets COVID and has even a single risk factor can and should also take advantage of one of several highly effective treatments, including two oral antivirals, of which there are plenty,” Doron said in the Executive Office’s statement Health and Human Services.

Hospitals and other healthcare providers, including federally funded facilities managed by Gothams, also serve as distributors for COVID-19 therapeutics. The state maintains both a COVID-19 Therapeutic Look Up Tool and COVID-19 Therapeutic Locator to help you find treatment in your area.

https://www.boston.com/news/coronavirus/2022/05/16/tested-positive-see-if-you-qualify-for-paxlovid-and-how-to-get-it/ tested positive? See if you qualify for Paxlovid and how to get it

Rick Schindler

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