Pfizer’s Covid-19 Tablet Arrives In S’pore, Priority For Those At Higher Risk Of Severe Illness

1st Batch Of Paxlovid Has Arrived, Says Health Minister Ong Ye Kung

Considering the current surge in Covid-19 cases in Singapore, the worry remains that our hospitals will be burdened with patients.

Thus, while a large percentage of our population is vaccinated, medicine that can prevent cases from being warded will help greatly.

To that end, Pfizer’s Covid-19 tablet has arrived in Singapore, shortly after it was approved for domestic use.


Priority will be given to those who’re at higher risk of severe illness.

Paxlovid arrived on 11 Feb

The arrival of the 1st batch of the pill – named Paxlovid – was announced by Health Minister Ong Ye Kung in a Facebook post on Saturday (12 Feb) night.

He didn’t give an exact date, saying only that it arrived “this week”.


An earlier Facebook post by Pfizer Singapore said that the shipment arrived in Singapore on Friday (11 Feb).


This was achieved after the company worked at “lightspeed”.

HSA gave interim authorisation on 31 Jan

Pfizer must have acted quickly the moment the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) gave “interim authorisation” to the pill on 31 Jan under the Pandemic Special Access Route (PSAR).

This is after they reviewed available clinical data to find that Paxlovid significantly reduces the risk of hospitalisation or death.

In particular, the drug was found to reduce the number by 88.9% and 87.8% when given within 3 and 5 days from the onset of symptoms.


Lab results have also shown that Paxlovid is “active against” infectious variants like the Delta and Omicron strains.

Higher-risk group get priority

Minister Ong added that those who’re at higher risk of severe illness from Covid-19 will be prescribed Paxlovid.

They comprise adult patients with mild symptoms but have a high risk of worsening conditions.

This group will also get priority for the drug – the 1st oral anti-viral medicine approved here for Covid-19 treatment.

Patients who’re prescribed Paxlovid must take the tablet twice per day for a period of 5 days.

The tablet comprises 2 drugs—nirmatrelvir and ritonavir. The former is the antiviral medicine, while the latter ensures the blood level of nirmatrelvir for “antiviral efficacy”.

The tablet’s side effects, described as “generally low”, include:

  • altered sense of taste
  • chills
  • diarrhoea
  • hypertension
  • muscle pain
  • vomiting.

Nonetheless, HSA said the benefits of Paxlovid outweigh its risks, especially for cases at high risk of severe illness.

More treatment options

With the arrival of Paxlovid, Minister Ong noted that Singapore now had more treatment options for Covid-19 cases.

That can only be a good thing, as he added,

We are now in a better position to provide good care to Singaporeans infected with Covid-19.

Hope drug will reduce load in hospitals

Considering that there are 1,206 patients hospitalised from Covid-19 as of Saturday (13 Feb), our hospital capacity could hit breaking point any moment.

Thus, there’s no better time for Paxlovid to prove its effectiveness in helping to reduce the load in our hospitals.

With 893 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 Pfizer on Facebook and Ong Ye Kung on Facebook.

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