While most cases of COVID-19 are mild and can be managed at home, vulnerable people at higher risk of severe illness may need specific antiviral treatments. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee has now expanded access to oral antiviral treatments to millions of Australians on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Due to the potential impact this may have on people, we're going to dive in-depth into what these treatments are, who is eligible, and who should not have it. If you need support or just someone to talk to, our Sonder support team is available 24/7 to chat whenever you need it.


What are these antiviral COVID-19 treatments?

There are two oral antiviral treatments available as part of this scheme: Lagevrio and Paxlovid.

Both of these antivirals prevent the Sars-CoV-2 virus from replicating in the body and have shown to reduce the chance of someone with COVID-19 from progressing to hospitalisation and severe disease.

These antiviral treatments are taken as capsules or tablets, and may help stop COVID-19 infection from becoming severe. The Australian Department of Health and Aged Care recommends that courses of these antiviral treatments be started as soon as possible after symptoms of COVID-19 begin.

It's important to note that these antiviral treatments are not a replacement for vaccination and it is recommended that you get a COVID-19 vaccine if you haven't done so yet.

Who is eligible for antiviral COVID-19 treatments?

Eligibility for this antiviral treatment has now been expanded and include the following:

  • People aged 70 years or older.

  • People aged 50 years or older with two or more risk factors for severe disease.

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 30 or older with two or more risk factors.

  • People aged 18 or older who are moderately to severely immunocompromised.

The in-depth eligibility criteria can be found here.

Who should not have antiviral COVID-19 treatments?

People who are pregnant or breastfeeding are recommended to not have any oral antiviral COVID-19 treatments, and should ensure that they're up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations.

Those with severe kidney or liver disease should not have the Paxalovid COVID-19 treatment and it's recommended that they talk to their doctor about alternative oral treatments.

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If you have any questions or need extra support, we're here to help you anytime in any language. Simply start a chat with us via the home screen of the Sonder app.

Information sourced from: Australian Dept of Health and Aged Care and The Guardian.

Image credit: Maxime at Unsplash

All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health professional.

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