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What you need to know about COVID-19 treatments
Last updated: March 31, 2023
Health Canada has approved COVID-19 treatments that help prevent COVID-19 symptoms from getting worse in people who are at higher risk of becoming seriously sick or being hospitalized.
In East Toronto, these individuals can get these treatments at local pharmacies and Clinical Assessment Centres in Toronto.
Learn more about these treatments and how they help protect people who are at higher risk below.
What are COVID-19 treatments?
Prescription medications and therapies for use outside hospitals that help prevent COVID-19 symptoms from getting worse. Treatments include:
- Paxlovid: a pill for people aged 18 and older
- Remdesivir: intravenous (IV) therapy for people aged 12 and older
COVID-19 treatments are not replacements for vaccination.
If you are eligible and you have not already done so, we strongly encourage you to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible to protect yourself, your loved ones and our communities. Book an appointment at a vaccine clinic near you.
Why should I get COVID-19 treatment?
If you are at higher risk of becoming seriously sick or being hospitalized from COVID-19, Paxlovid or Remdesivir can help prevent your symptoms from getting worse. This is especially important if you are:
- 60 years of age or older
- 18 years of age or older and are immunocompromised
- 18 to 59 years old and at a higher risk of severe COVID-19 including having:
- one or more underlying medical conditions (such as diabetes, heart or lung disease), or
- inadequate immunity against COVID-19 from:
- not receiving a full primary series of the COVID-19 vaccine
- having received a full primary series but no COVID-19 vaccine or COVID-19 infection within the past six months
Who NEEDS COVID-19 treatment?
Use the Ontario government's COVID-19 antiviral treatment screener to help you determine if you are at higher risk of becoming seriously sick or being hospitalized from COVID-19 and may benefit from Paxlovid or Remdesivir. This screener is only meant as an aid and cannot guarantee you access to COVID-19 treatment. When you arrive at a site that offers COVID-19 treatment, a nurse or doctor may ask you questions to confirm if you need COVID-19 assessment and prescriptions for treatment.
COVID-19 treatments are free for everyone who would benefit from them. You do not need a health card or health insurance.
HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHO NEEDS COVID-19 TREATMENT?
We use guidelines from the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table to determine who would benefit from COVID-19 treatment. This includes people who are at higher risk of becoming seriously sick and being hospitalized from COVID-19.
When should I get COVID-19 treatment?
As soon as possible if you think or know you have COVID-19, even if your symptoms are mild, and you are at higher risk of becoming seriously sick and being hospitalized from COVID-19.
For Paxlovid and Remdesivir to be effective, treatment must be started within the first few days after you have been infected with COVID-19.
Where can I get COVID-19 treatment?
If you need a COVID-19 test or treatment, please visit your local pharmacy or a Clinical Assessment Centre or testing site in Toronto.