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Government of

Information and public services for the Island of Jersey

L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

Antivirals for the treatment of COVID-19

If you have a weakened immune system

If you have a weakened immune system (are immunosuppressed) you may have a reduced ability to fight infections and disease, including COVID-19.  Your immune system may be weakened due to:

  • a health condition
  • because you are on medication
  • undergoing treatment that is suppressing your immune system

If you are aged 12 years and over, you may be able to get antiviral treatmentMost people who can have antiviral treatment will be under the care of a specialist clinician at the hospital.

Who can get antiviral treatment

You may be eligible for antiviral medication if you have:

  1. symptoms of COVID-19
  2. a positive LFT or PCR test, and
  3. are aged 12 years or over, and
  4. one of the following: 

    • are a person with Down Syndrome 
    • have a rare condition affecting the brain or nerves (including multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, Huntington's disease, or myasthenia gravis)
    • have sickle cell disease 
    • have certain types of cancer 
    • have HIV or AIDS 
    • have a severe liver condition (such as cirrhosis) 
    • have chronic kidney disease (CKD) stage 4 or 5 
    • have had an organ transplant 
    • have certain autoimmune or inflammatory conditions (such as rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease) 
    • have a condition or treatment that makes you more likely to get infections 
    • have had certain types of chemotherapy in the last 12 months 
    • have had radiotherapy in the last 6 months 

Due to the risks associated with being immunosuppressed, or having a specific medical condition, you should take extra precautions to keep yourself protected from COVID-19 and becoming seriously unwell.

Advice for people at increased risk from COVID-19

If you develop any coronavirus symptoms, even if they are mild, you should stay at home and undertake an LFT. You should make sure that you always have a supply of LFTs. These are available to purchase online or from local pharmacies and most supermarkets.

If you test positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19 you should contact your GP who will assess you and confirm if you are eligible for treatment. If you are eligible, you should start taking the antivirals as soon as possible after you have tested positive and within 5 days of starting to show symptoms. 

If you test negative for COVID-19 but continue to have symptoms or become more unwell you should still contact your GP for assessment, which may include a rapid COVID PCR test.

What antiviral treatments are available

The antiviral treatments used in Jersey are called Paxlovid and Molnupiravir.

Paxlovid is a combination of 2 medicines called nirmatrelvir and ritonavir. Nirmatrelvir works by preventing the virus from multiplying and keeping virus levels low in your body. This helps your body's immune system control the infection and reduces the risk of severe symptoms. 

Ritonavir does not work on the virus itself. It helps keep nirmatrelvir from being broken down in your body long enough for it to do its job. 

Molnupiravir stops the COVID-19 virus from growing and spreading. It works by preventing the virus from multiplying and keeping virus levels in your body low. This helps your body’s immune system control infection and reduces the risk of severe symptoms. 

COVID-19 treatments do not replace vaccinations, vaccination is still the best protection against a future COVID-19 infection.

Collection of antiviral treatment

If you are eligible for medication, a prescription will be issued. Your doctor will confirm with you if there is someone who can collect this on your behalf prior to arranging for the prescription to be sent to either Hospital Pharmacy or Roseville Pharmacy.

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