Ontario unveils details on Pfizer antiviral COVID-19 pill roll out


Published January 17, 2022 at 1:32 pm


Ontario is expecting thousands of doses of Pfizer’s antiviral COVID-19 pill by the end of the month.

On Monday, Health Canada approved the antiviral COVID-19 pill called Paxlovid, which is used to treat mild to moderate cases of the virus in people aged 18 and older.

A provincial spokesperson confirmed Ontario is expecting to receive approximately 10,000 courses of the treatment from the federal government by the end of the month, with details on timing of shipments yet to be confirmed.

The pill will be available at 15 sites across the province “as soon we receive them” based on a limited supply, the spokesperson said.

Courses will initially be prioritized for adults with the highest risk of severe outcomes including immunocompromised patients, and the province said the treatment “could help keep thousands of people out of our hospitals.”

“The arrival of these pills gives us increased confidence as we continue to review key indicators and data to determine when we can begin safely and gradually lifting public health measures, and we look forward to providing additional details in the near future,” the province said in a statement.

During a press conference with reporters Monday, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam called the approval of Paxlovid was “great news,” saying Canadians should “be very happy” that oral antivirals will soon be available across the country.

According to data from Pfizer’s clinical trial, Paxlovid was nearly 90% effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths in patients at high risk of severe illness.

Pfizer said lab data suggests the drug retains its effectiveness against Omicron, which has been driving up case numbers and hospitalizations in Ontario and across Canada.

According to reports, the feds said last month that the government had signed a deal with Pfizer for a million doses of the drug.

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