More people eligible for COVID treatments

More people at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 will be able to access life-saving oral antiviral treatments from Monday 11 July.

The prescription-only oral treatments, Paxlovid and Lagevrio, have been found to be effective in treating mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults aged 18 years of age and older, who do not require supplemental oxygen, and who are at increased risk of hospitalisation.

The new eligibility includes updated age limits and risk factors summarised below. 

Older Australians and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who test positive for COVID-19.

  • 70 years or older regardless of risk factors, and with or without symptoms
  • 50 years or older with two risk factors
  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, 30 years or older and with two risk factors.

Risk factors include:

  • living in residential aged care
  • living with disability with multiple conditions and/or frailty (but not limited to living in supported accommodation)
  • neurological conditions like stroke or dementia and demyelinating conditions e.g. multiple sclerosis, Guillain-Barre Syndrome
  • chronic respiratory conditions including COPD, moderate or severe asthma
  • obesity or diabetes (type I or II requiring medication)
  • congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies
  • kidney failure or cirrhosis
  • living remotely with reduced access to higher level healthcare.

People aged 18 years and older who are moderately to severely immunocompromised and test positive for COVID-19.

Conditions include:

  • blood cancer or some red blood cell disorders (thalassemia, sickle cell disease)
  • transplant recipient
  • primary or acquired (HIV) immunodeficiency
  • chemotherapy or whole-body radiotherapy in the last three months
  • high dose corticosteroids or pulse corticosteroid therapy in the last three months
  • immunosuppressive treatments in the last three months
  • rituximab in the last 12 months
  • cerebral palsy or down syndrome
  • congenital heart disease
  • living with disability with multiple conditions and/or frailty.

For more information, see the Australian Government Department of Health website.

Also see this article by DVA’s Deputy Chief Health Office, Dr Trish Batchelor.

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