First shipment of Paxlovid, antiviral COVID-19 drug, arrives in Ontario

WATCH ABOVE: Health Canada has now approved Paxlovid, the antiviral medication from Pfizer, to treat people with COVID-19. Abigail Bimman looks at what's known so far about the drug, and who's being prioritized to receive it.

TORONTO — Health Minister Christine Elliott says the first shipment of an antiviral COVID-19 treatment has arrived in Ontario.

The oral antiviral drug Paxlovid is meant to protect against hospitalization and death.

Elliott has previously said Ontario was set to receive 10,000 courses of treatment in January, and she says today that the province has secured an additional 400 doses for First Nations communities in the north.

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Pfizer’s Paxlovid pill not a replacement for COVID-19 vaccine, officials say

The drug is initially being prioritized for adults at highest risk, including immunocompromised patients.

Ontario is reporting 4,114 people in hospital today with COVID-19 and 590 people in intensive care units.

That’s up from 4,061 hospitalizations reported the previous day and a slightly lower number of people in ICU, down from 594.

The province also reports another 62 deaths related to COVID-19.

Read more:

4,114 people in Ontario hospitals with COVID, 590 in intensive care

Ontario is reporting 7,165 new cases of COVID-19, though Public Health Ontario has said the number is likely higher because of a current policy restricting who can access tests.

More than half of the long-term care homes in the province have active COVID-19 outbreaks.

About 88 per cent of Ontarians aged five and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 83 per cent have received two.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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