Though the Omicron wave in Singapore is seeing signs of waning, some patients are sadly still getting very sick and passing away.
Thus, while a large percentage of our population is vaccinated, medicine that can prevent cases from getting severely ill is still needed.
That’s why Pfizer’s Covid-19 tablets will be made available at certain local polyclinics soon.
Better still, the Ministry of Health (MOH) will fully cover the costs of the drug for a limited time.
The impending rollout of the pill – named Paxlovid – will be in phases, reported The Straits Times (ST).
It’ll be available for Covid-19 patients at the following facilities:
Of course, priority for the pill should be given to those who’re most likely to be hospitalised due to Covid-19.
That’s because the main intention of this treatment is to keep hospital admissions down and avoid giving healthcare workers more pressure.
That means eligible patients should be adults with mild symptoms, but who have a high risk of worsening.
These high-risk patients typically include those who’re:
Additionally, the patients should be within 5 days of the onset of illness, and must be administered the drug as soon as possible within this period, MOH told ST.
As a further bonus, MOH will fully cover the costs of Paxlovid when it’s rolled out at the eligible facilities.
However, this will be for a limited time only.
As the drug has to be taken 2 times daily for 5 days, a full course costs S$723 (US$530) in the United States, ST said.
There are also going to be strict guidelines for using Paxlovid, and its prescription will be monitored to ensure compliance.
No date has been specified for Paxlovid’s rollout in Singapore.
However, going by precedent, it should be sooner rather than later.
The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) granted Paxlovid interim authorisation on 31 Jan – making it the 1st oral anti-viral medicine approved here for Covid-19 treatment.
Thus, after some quick moves by Pfizer, the 1st shipment arrived in Singapore just 11 days later on 11 Feb.
Perhaps the reason for the eagerness is it’s good clinical data.
It’s been found that Paxlovid significantly reduces the risk of hospitalisation by 88.9%, and death by 87.8%, when given within 3 and 5 days from the onset of symptoms.
Lab results have also shown that the drug is active against the Delta and Omicron variants.
The side effects of consuming the tablet, on the other hand, are mild to moderate.
Considering that there are 1,310 patients hospitalised from Covid-19 as of Monday (14 Feb), and 37 in intensive care, our hospital capacity could hit breaking point.
Thus, there’s no better time for Paxlovid to prove its effectiveness in helping to reduce the load in our hospitals.
With 1,153 deaths so far, the tablet will hopefully also reduce the number of cases who sadly pass away from the disease.
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Featured image adapted from Ong Ye Kung on Facebook.
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