Who can get COVID-19 antiviral medication? 

You may be eligible to receive antivirals if you test positive for COVID-19 (or are household contact with symptoms of COVID-19) and are:

  • Aged 65 or over
  • Māori or Pacific ethnicity aged 50 or over
  • Aged 50 or over and haven’t completed a primary course of vaccination (at least two doses)
  • Someone who has 3 or more high risk medical conditions

Find out if you are eligible for COVID-19 antiviral medication at healthnavigator.org.nz, call Healthline on 0800 358 5453, or speak to your GP practice or pharmacist.

 

Important information to know

Where to get COVID-19 antiviral medication

For eligible people, some pharmacists will be able to supply COVID-19 antivirals as a pharmacist-only medicine, without a prescription.

If you develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 talk to your pharmacist or GP immediately to see if the medicines are right for you.

If you already have a prescription, find a local pharmacy near you.  

COVID-19 antiviral pharmacy locations


What are antiviral medications?

Antivirals are medicines that reduce the amount of virus in your body that cause infections like COVID-19 and help avoid severe illness, get better faster, and stay out of hospital.

People who are eligible need to take COVID-19 antivirals within the first 5 days of COVID-19 symptoms starting and are more effective the sooner they are taken. 

Antiviral medications do not replace the need to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Vaccination is the best way to help protect against COVID-19.


Which COVID-19 antiviral medications are available in New Zealand?

There are two oral COVID-19 antiviral medications available from a GP or pharmacist in New Zealand for people who are eligible.

  • Paxlovid tablets and molnupiravir capsules are oral medications to be taken 2 times a day for 5 days within 5 days of the start of your COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Remdesivir is also available in special circumstances and is given by intravenous infusion.

Read more about Paxlovid, molnupiravir, and Remdesivir.


Important Notes

  • COVID-19 antiviral medications are not available from all pharmacies. Only pharmacists who have completed additional training can supply these medications. 
  • When you have COVID-19, you must self-isolate for at least 7 days and cannot leave your home. If you have symptoms and test positive and think you are eligible for antivirals, phone your pharmacy or GP.
  • It's important that you do not go to the pharmacy if you have tested positive. You can arrange to have your antivirals collected and delivered by friends or whānau, or order online from a pharmacy that offers a delivery service.

Other Therapeutics

Evusheld

Evusheld is a preventative medication for those people most at risk of serious illness due to COVID-19. Evusheld is shown to reduce their chances of getting very sick if they get COVID-19.

It’s only available for a small group of people with very weakened immune systems (e.g. organ transplant patients) who have trouble making antibodies to fight COVID-19 (approximately 2 people per 1,000 in the population).

In some cases, it’s also available for people who are unable to have the COVID-19 vaccine due to a medical condition (not for people who choose not to have the vaccine).

If you’re eligible for Evusheld, the health services managing your care will contact you, or you can call your GP to discuss if the medication is right for you.

 

Click here for more information about Evushed