Jan
12
2023

Islanders can contact their local pharmacist for Paxlovid™ prescription

Islanders testing positive for COVID-19 now have another option to access Paxlovid™. Community pharmacists across Prince Edward Island can prescribe Paxlovid™ to adults eligible to receive the COVID-19 antiviral treatment, providing more convenient and timely access to care closer to home. 

Paxlovid™ has been available in Prince Edward Island since January 2022 and should be started as early as possible within the first five days of COVID-19 symptoms. Islanders testing positive for COVID-19 should contact their primary care provider or their local pharmacist to begin the pre-screening eligibility process to receive the antiviral treatment. Islanders who can’t reach their primary care provider, are without a primary care provider or those without a PEI Health Card should call 8-1-1 to be assessed for Paxlovid™ and referred for prescribing services. 

“The collaboration between government, Health PEI and health care providers, including pharmacists and pharmacy teams, has played a very important role throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Having more convenient access to Paxlovid™ prescription and treatment through participating community pharmacies is another important step forward in our efforts to protect Islanders from COVID-19; however, it is not a substitute for vaccination.”

- Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Heather Morrison

Islanders may be eligible for anti-viral treatment if they meet the following criteria:

  • have a positive COVID-19 test result (rapid home tests do not need to be confirmed in a testing site);
  • are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms that developed within the last 5 days;
  • the prescribing occurs withing the first 5 days of symptoms; and,
  • are either: 
    • 18 years and over with underlying medical conditions that lead to high risk of severe outcomes including hospitalization or death regardless of COVID-19 vaccine status; or
    • Indigenous people 18 years and over; or 
    • 50 years of age and older (regardless of vaccine status).

“It has perhaps never been more essential that healthcare professionals employ their full scope of practice to support timely access to care. As medication experts, pharmacists can assess individuals to ensure that Paxlovid™ treatment is right for them and prescribe it if appropriate,” said Erin MacKenzie, executive director of the PEI Pharmacists Association. “It will be important to contact your pharmacy in advance to confirm availability of the service and to arrange for an assessment.” 

Paxlovid™ is an oral antiviral medication to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults who are at higher risk of severe illness. Not everyone who tests positive for COVID-19 would benefit from antiviral treatment. The screening and prescribing process for individuals who may be eligible to receive the Paxlovid™ treatment can take time and Islanders are encouraged to call their local pharmacist, primary care provider or 8-1-1 in advance to help ensure they begin treatment within five days of COVID-19 symptoms

“Providing timely access to antiviral treatments at the first sign of COVID-19 symptoms and following a positive test result is extremely important both for the health of the individual fighting COVID-19, and to the health care system as it helps reduce the severity of illness for those at risk of severe outcomes. Prince Edward Island has led Canada in the distribution of Paxlovid™ and the expansion of access to prescriptions and antiviral treatment through participating community pharmacies across the province will greatly benefit eligible Islanders who become sick from the virus,” said Cheryl Banks, director of COVID-19 Operations for Health PEI.

This collaborative initiative is part of the efforts by the Government of Prince Edward Island and health care partners to alleviate pressure on the province’s health care system and improve access to timely health care for Islanders. 

For more information about Paxlovid™, visit: Paxlovid (antiviral for treating COVID-19)

Pharmacy contact information can be found at: Pharmacy Plus PEI

For more information about COVID-19 in Prince Edward Island, including testing and vaccination information, visit: COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Prince Edward Island

Media contact:
Morgan Martin
Department of Health and Wellness
mxmartin@gov.pe.ca
(902) 218-3430

Everton McLean
Health PEI
emclean@gov.pe.ca
(902) 213-1507

Erin MacKenzie
Executive Director, PEI Pharmacists Association
peipharm@gmail.com
(902)367-7080

General Inquiries

Department of Health and Wellness
4th Floor North, Shaw Building
105 Rochford Street
Charlottetown, PE   C1A 7N8

Phone: 902-368-6414
Fax: 902-368-4121

DeptHW@gov.pe.ca