Updated eligibility for oral COVID-19 treatments

Most cases of COVID-19 are mild and can be managed at home. Some people who are at higher risk may need specific antiviral treatments prescribed by their healthcare provider. Learn about who is eligible for COVID-19 treatments.

  You can find translated information on oral COVID-19 treatments in over 60 languages.

Eligibility for oral COVID-19 treatments

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee recommended changes to the eligibility criteria of the oral treatments. This will take effect from Monday 11 July 2022.

Antiviral treatments taken as capsules or tablets may help stop COVID-19 infection from becoming severe. Courses of these antiviral treatments need to be started as soon as possible after symptoms from COVID-19 begin.

People at higher risk of severe illness are eligible for antiviral treatments.

Learn more about oral antiviral treatments for COVID-19.

Senior Australians and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may be eligible for antiviral treatments if you are:

  • 70 years and older, regardless of risk factors and with or without symptoms
  • 50 years or older with 2 additional risk factors
  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, 30 years or older and with additional risk factors.

Risk factors for these groups include:

  • living in residential aged care
  • living with disability with multiple conditions and/or frailty (but not limited to living in supported accommodation)
  • neurological conditions like stroke or dementia and demyelinating conditions e.g. multiple sclerosis, Guillain-Barre Syndrome
  • chronic respiratory conditions including COPD, moderate or severe asthma
  • obesity or diabetes (type I or II requiring medication)
  • heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies
  • kidney failure or cirrhosis
  • living remotely with reduced access to higher level healthcare.

People aged 18 years and older

If you test positive for COVID-19 and are moderately to severely immunocompromised, you may be eligible for antiviral treatments.

Conditions include:

  • blood cancer or some red blood cell disorders (thalassemia, sickle cell disease)
  • transplant recipient
  • primary or acquired (HIV) immunodeficiency
  • chemotherapy or whole-body radiotherapy in the last 3 months
  • high dose corticosteroids or pulse corticosteroid therapy in the last 3 months
  • immunosuppressive treatments in the last 3 months
  • rituximab in the last 12 months
  • cerebral palsy or Down Syndrome
  • congenital heart disease
  • living with disability with multiple conditions and/or frailty.

View the Lagevrio® and Paxlovid® fact sheets on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme website for the full list of risk factors.

How to get COVID-19 oral treatments

If you test positive, you should contact your doctor for advice about eligibility first.

If your doctor recommends oral antiviral treatments, you will need a prescription.

The medications are available at your local pharmacy with a prescription. 

Your doctor can send the pharmacist your prescription electronically so the medications can be either collected by a friend or family member (you will be in isolation having tested positive) or delivered to your home.

Find your nearest pharmacy with the oral treatments.

Finding an available GP appointment

If you don't have a regular GP, or can't get an appointment quickly to talk about treatments, you can call HealthDirect's free helpline on 1800 022 222 or use the Service Finder to search for one near you.

Who should not have antiviral COVID-19 treatments?

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding you should not have oral COVID-19 treatments. Instead, ensure you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccinations

If you have severe kidney or liver disease you should not have Paxlovid COVID-19 treatment. Talk to your healthcare provider about alternative oral treatments.

COVID-19 treatments and fertility

If you are prescribed the oral treatment Paxlovid for COVID-19 and you are also taking prescribed birth control 'the pill', you should use extra contraception as the treatment may affect how the pill works.

Also, it is recommended you use effective forms of contraception:

  • during treatment and for 4 days after with Lagevrio
  • during treatment and for 7 days after with Paxlovid.

Men should use contraception during and for 3 months after taking Lagevrio.

Talk to your healthcare provider about contraceptives and what is best for your situation.

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Last updated: 
26 July 2022

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