COVID-19 medicines help stop people from getting so sick that they need to go to the hospital.
Who is eligible for COVID-19 antiviral medicine
Only people most likely to need hospital care are eligible for the COVID-19 antiviral medicine. This includes people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and:
- are 70 years of age or older
- are 50 years of age or older, with one risk factor for severe disease
- are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and 30 years of age or older, with one risk factor for severe disease
- have a weakened immune system and are 18 years of age or older
- have ever been admitted to hospital because of a COVID-19 infection and are 18 years of age or older.
How to get COVID-19 medicine
These medicines are prescription only. A GP or a can assess if you need these medicines and prescribe them for you or refer you to a hospital. If you are unable to get an appointment at a GP or GP Respiratory Clinic, contact the .
Plan ahead by checking your eligibility with your GP, so that you are prepared if you get COVID-19.
These medicines work best if you take them as soon as you get symptoms or within 5 days of getting sick. This is why it is important to get tested for COVID-19 as soon as you notice any symptoms. You should take the medicine even if your symptoms are mild.
It is not safe to share your medicine with others or take medicine that has been prescribed for someone else as it can have dangerous side effects if taken with other medicines or supplements.
Who should not have COVID-19 medicine
Some groups of people should not have COVID-19 oral antivirals. These groups include:
- pregnant people
- people who are breastfeeding
- young children.
People who have severe kidney or liver disease should not have Paxlovid oral antiviral treatment.
People who are sexually active should use an effective form of contraception while taking COVID-19 antiviral medicine.
Reviewed 14 July 2023