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January 17, 2022 – Federal government update on the COVID-19 pandemic

The following is an update on recent federal government decisions and actions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health Canada approves Pfizer’s COVID-19 treatment

Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos and Minister of Public Services and Procurement Filomena Tassi have provided an update on the COVID-19 situation in Canada.

“Access to easy-to-use treatments, such as PAXLOVIDTM, is critical in reducing the severity of COVID-19 in Canadians at high risk of progressing to serious illness, and in helping ease the burden on our healthcare system. This is yet another tool that we can use to fight COVID-19 along with vaccines, rapid tests and following all local public health guidelines.” Jean-Yves Duclos said.

PAXLOVIDTM is a combination of tablets—two nirmatrelvir tablets and one ritonavir—that should be taken twice daily for five days, upon diagnosis or within five days of the onset of symptoms. A PCR test diagnosis is ideal, but a rapid test could also be used.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, this treatment should be prescribed by a doctor, with priority given to those at highest risk of developing severe disease:

  • People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised.
  • People aged 80 and over who are not adequately immunized.
  • People aged 60 and over who are not adequately immunized and who reside in rural or remote communities, an Indigenous community or a long-term care facility.

Delivery and distribution to the provinces

The Government of Canada has received an initial shipment of 30,400 treatments and will receive an additional 120,000 by the end of March.

In total, the Canadian government has secured access to 1 million treatments.

Distribution to provinces and territories will begin shortly. Deployment will be based on population size and Pfizer’s shipping requirements.