One of the first Manitobans to receive the COVID-19 antiviral pill that became available in the province last month has made a full recovery with no side effects.
Mary McIntosh, 72, lives in Victoria Beach and is one of 83 Manitobans who recently dispensed the drug Paxlovid to Pfizer Inc. to treat COVID-19.
She contacted Health Links when she was diagnosed with COVID-19 on January 30. McIntosh has autoimmune hepatitis (a chronic liver disease), which qualifies her to receive the new treatment.
“I had to defend myself regarding treatment options,” said McIntosh, who is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, including a booster.
“But after making the first contact with Shared Health, I found that things were moving very quickly.”
They had to: The window where COVID-19 treatments are most effective is only five to seven days after symptoms appear.
McIntosh was prescribed the combination drug Paxlovid by a doctor assigned to him by Shared Health, after a series of phone calls with various medical professionals. After getting the all-clear from her own doctor to make sure it wouldn’t affect her current medications, she immediately started the five-day prescription.
“Once they got the prescription at (Health Sciences Center), I was contacted by the pharmacist there, and was told there would be no cost to me. and that the prescription would be delivered to where I was isolated,” McIntosh mentioned.
“Once they got the prescription at (Health Sciences Center), I was contacted by the pharmacist there, and was told there would be no cost to me. and that the prescription would be delivered where I was isolated.”
She decided to wait out her self-isolation at a friend’s house in Winnipeg. She received bubble packs from February 2, with 30 pills in total: three each morning and three each afternoon, approximately 12 hours apart. By the end of her period of self-isolation, she had made a full recovery, she said.
The treatment is part of what the province calls a “test and treat” strategy, which means getting treatment quickly into the hands of people most likely to have a severe response to COVID-19.
According to the province, of the 83 people who first received the treatment, 46 live in the Winnipeg Health Region, 20 in Prairie Mountain, nine in Southern Health, five in Interlake-Eastern and three in Northern Health. (The figures are expected to be updated on Wednesday.)
There were 978 treatments available in Manitoba as of Tuesday.
(If you fall into one of the five eligible categories and test positive for COVID-19, the province recommends contacting Health Links to find out if you are eligible for treatment.)