Ontario’s pharmacies will now be able to prescribe an anti-viral COVID-19 treatment.

As of today, pharmacies in Ontario are able to prescribe Pfizer’s Paxlovid to eligible individuals in-person or virtually, at no cost – if you’re within 5 days of having COVID-19 symptoms with a positive PCR or rapid antigen test.

Pfizer’s Paxlovid can be used to treat adults with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk of progressing to serious disease, including hospitalization or death. It’s the first COVID-19 therapy that can be taken at home and was approved for use in Canada in April.

Ontario says eligible residents also need to be either: 60 years or older, 18 years or older and immunocompromised, or 18 to 59 years old and at a higher risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes – which includes chronic medical conditions or inadequate immunity against COVID-19, like not being vaccinated.

“Authorizing pharmacists to prescribe Paxlovid will expand access and offer increased protection to the most vulnerable and mitigate pressures on the province’s hospital capacity,” said Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health.

In northwestern Ontario – eligible pharmacies with Paxlovid include:

Kenora – Keewatin Family, Johnson’s, Walmart, No Frill’s, Medicine Shoppe, Pharmasave, Shoppers.
Dryden – Walmart, Shoppers, IDA and the Dryden Pharmacy.
Sioux Lookout – Rexall, Rx Drug Mart, Remedy’s Rx.
Red Lake – Red Lake Pharmacy.
Ear Falls – the Ear Falls Pharmacy.
Emo – Emo Drugs.
Ignace – Ignace Medical Pharmacy.
Fort Frances – Clinic Dispensary, Pharmasave, Rainy Lake FN Pharmacy, Safeway, Shoppers.

Clinical trials showed treatment with Paxlovid reduced the risk of hospitalization and death caused by COVID-19 by 89 per cent when the medications were started within three days of the beginning of symptoms, and by 85 per cent when started within five days.

Risk conditions of Paxlovid include those with: diabetes, obesity, heart disease, hypertension, congestive heart failure, moderate or severe kidney disease, chronic lung disease, intellectual or developmental disability, cerebral palsy, sickle cell disease, moderate or severe liver disease and pregnancy.

The government adds that keeping up to date with your influenza and COVID-19 vaccinations remains the best way for people to stay healthy this flu and respiratory illness season, helping to prevent unnecessary visits to the hospital.