It used to be difficult to access at-home treatments for COVID-19, but now you can access them after a quick telehealth appointment, regardless of your insurance status.
Paxlovid, an antiviral treatment from Pfizer, has been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization or death by up to 90% in high-risk adults, if given soon after the onset of symptoms.
It is essential that a course of Paxlovid is started early, particularly within five days of the onset of symptoms, so don’t wait until after a positive test to see if you get any sicker.
Dr. Shira Doron, the hospital epidemiologist at Tufts Medical Center, told Boston.com in April that currently authorized COVID-19 treatments are designed to prevent hospitalization and serious illness.
“The way it works keeps it from getting worse,” Doron said. “Once your condition gets worse, your immune system is what kicks in and goes a little out of whack and causes the worst symptoms, and the drugs aren’t for the immune system, they’re for the virus. Medicines will 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 inhibits virus replication, and ritonavir, which increases levels of antiviral drugs. It can’t reverse damage caused by a virus, it can only stop it from progressing, which is why it needs to be caught early, according to Yale Medicine.
So, if you do end up getting a positive test result, whether on a home test or a lab test, here’s what you can do.
Who can get Paxlovid?
Nearly 40% of Massachusetts residents may be eligible for therapeutic treatments for COVID-19, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Specifically, anyone with a risk factor for serious illness is eligible for Pfizer’s five-day course of pills.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has compiled a more comprehensive list of conditions that carry a high risk, but here are some of the risk factors, as listed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health:
- Chronic lung, liver, heart or kidney disease
- Immunocompromised conditions
- Neurological conditions
- Physical inactivity
- Substance use disorders
People over the age of 65 are also eligible, according to a Department of Public Health fact sheet.
To be eligible for treatment, you must also have a positive COVID-19 test that results in a symptomatic infection that has not yet required hospitalization, according to DPH. The treatment is only available to people over 12 who weigh more than about 88 pounds (40 kilograms).
How do I access Paxlovid?
Daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., telehealth providers are available through public agencies to determine if Paxlovid is the right treatment for you.
The telehealth visit and prescription are free, regardless of your insurance status, and are available to people over 18 who have tested positive and have symptoms, according to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services. .
Each telehealth visit consists of a short intake survey, followed by a video consultation with a health care clinician, according to the state.
After the telehealth appointment, a prescription for Paxlovid will either be made at your local pharmacy or the treatment will be mailed free overnight, depending on the state.
The service, which launched earlier this month, is in collaboration with Color Health.
“…Now anyone who contracts COVID and has even a single risk factor can and should also avail themselves of one of several highly effective treatments, including two oral antiviral drugs, including there is an abundant supply,” Doron said in the executive’s statement. Office of Health and Social Services.
Hospitals and other healthcare providers, including publicly funded sites operated by Gothams, are also serving as distribution sites for COVID-19 therapies. The state maintains both a COVID-19 Therapeutics Finder Tool and a COVID-19 Therapeutics Locator to help you find the treatment closest to you.
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