Procedures for senior citizens to get COVID-19 drugs have been simplified. Starting May 18, people aged 65 or above who test positive in a rapid test will be eligible for the oral antiviral Paxlovid.
Many people wait in a line with their NHI cards and numbers in hand to see a doctor. This is Far Eastern Memorial Hospital in New Taipei City. Those who test positive in a PCR test at a community testing site, hospital, or hospital's disease prevention emergency outpatient service are shuttled here to get an evaluation and treatment. If the patient is aged 65 or above, they get priority in seeing a doctor either in person or virtually so that they can get medication as quickly as possible if needed.
Peng Yu-sen, Vice Superintendent, Far Eastern Memorial Hospital: “We automatically send a message to patients with a positive PCR test result to ask if they want to take medication. Our current targets are senior citizens aged 65 or above, so we're giving service priority to this high-risk group.”
The Central Epidemic Command Center has simplified the procedures for senior citizens to get COVID-19 drugs in an effort to prevent infection from causing moderate and severe symptoms. Starting May 18, people aged 65 or above who test positive in a rapid test will be eligible for Pfizer's oral antiviral drug Paxlovid once the result is confirmed and reported by a doctor and a consensus is reached between the patient and doctor. International studies show the hospitalization and mortality rates of people who take molnupiravir or Paxlovid within five days of onset are 31 percent and 88 percent less, respectively.
Meanwhile, under the 0+7 policy that took effect on May 17, those who live with a confirmed case and have received three vaccine doses and test negative in a rapid test will not have to quarantine and will only have to undergo seven days of "self-initiated epidemic prevention." They should take a rapid test every two days, and will be allowed to go out after a negative result. However, there are concerns that rapid tests aren't 100 percent reliable.
Huang Li-min, Honorary Chair, Infectious Diseases Society: “There's not much difference between seven days of restrictions and seven days of being extra careful. I think that as long as everyone continues following their current disease prevention habits, going from 3+4 to 0+7 will only increase the risk by a limited amount. ”
The risk of infecting people you live with is quite high, so people are reminded to be extra careful during the three-day incubation period and the remaining four days. They should wear masks to reduce the risk of infection.