Antiviral medicines are best used in the first few days of COVID-19 infection for people at risk of getting very sick with COVID-19.
Most people who have COVID-19 will experience a mild illness and can safely manage their own symptoms and recovery at home. Antivirals are ONLY used to treat people who are at risk of severe illness with COVID-19.
|You can get COVID-19 antiviral medicines if ALL of these apply
- You test positive for COVID-19, or you're a household contact of someone with COVID-19, and
- You got sick within the last 5 days, and
- You are eligible for the medicine.
See below for more information.
1. You must have COVID-19 or have developed symptoms and be a household contact of someone with COVID-19, to get free antiviral medicines. Because there are illnesses with similar symptoms to COVID-19, it is important you have a positive COVID-19 test result. These medicines are only suitable if you have COVID-19.
2. Your symptoms must be recent (starting in the last 5 days) to qualify for antivirals.
3. Eligible people include:
- Māori or Pasifika aged 50 years or older
- everyone aged 65 years and older
- anyone aged 50 years or older who has had fewer than 2 COVID-19 vaccinations.
You are also eligible for these medicines if you have 1 of the following:
- A severely weakened immune system.
- Down syndrome.
- Sickle cell anaemia.
- You receive Disability Support Services from the Ministry of Disabled People.
- You have a health condition that needs direct whānau or disability care most days.
- Severe frailty and/or vulnerability due to a severe health condition (eg, chronic lung or airways disease, serious heart conditions, diabetes, significant developmental disabilities, morbid obesity, active cancer) or are receiving mental health and addiction services.
- A previous admission to critical care or high dependency care because of COVID-19 infection and you have tested positive again.
- Any combination of 3 or more high risk medical conditions.(external link)
Read more about eligibility for COVID-19 antiviral medicines.(external link)
|If you're not sure if you qualify for antivirals, talk to your GP, nurse, hauora provider or pharmacist about COVID-19 antiviral medicines. They will advise you.
Please note: Even if you meet the eligibility criteria above, these medicines may not be suitable for you.