Learn about eligibility for COVID-19 antiviral medication

COVID-19 Antivirals

If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19, you may be eligible for COVID-19 antiviral medication if you meet certain criteria. Read the information below to learn about who is eligible for COVID-19 antivirals, how to get them, and how they work.

What’s the process for getting COVID-19 antivirals?

You test positive for
COVID-19

Contact a doctor for advice about eligibility

If a doctor recommends COVID-19 antivirals, they will write a prescription

Get your prescription sent electronically or to a local pharmacy

Who is eligible for COVID-19 antivirals?

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may be eligible for antiviral treatments if you match any of the following:

  • 70 years of age or older, regardless of risk factors and with or without symptoms
  • 60 years of age or older with 1 additional risk factor for developing severe disease
  • 50 years of age or older with 2 additional risk factors for developing severe disease or have had past a COVID-19 infection resulting in hospitalisation 
  • First Nations person, 30 years of age or older and with 1 additional risk factor for developing severe disease
  • 18 years of age or older and moderately to severely immunocompromised
  • 18 years of age or older and have been previously hospitalised from COVID-19 disease, if subsequently re-infected.

Risk factors 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
  • past COVID-19 infection episode resulting in hospitalisation

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
  • anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody treatment in the last 12 months
  • cerebral palsy or Down Syndrome
  • congenital heart disease
  • living with disability with multiple conditions and/or frailty

Your eligibility for COVID-19 will be determined at the time of your appointment and is at the doctor’s discretion.

What is the COVID-19 antiviral medication?

There are two COVID-19 antiviral treatments currently available in Australia, Lagevrio® manufactured by Merck and Paxlovid® manufactured by Pfizer. Both are TGA-approved and available through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

The antivirals are taken in the form of a tablet or capsule, or administered intravenously by a doctor, if required.

Eligible patients with a Medicare card can access a course of treatment for $30 or $7.30 for concession card holders under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

The medication can reduce the severity of COVID-19 if taken within the first five days of contracting the illness.

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 doctor about alternative oral treatments.

The information contained in this FAQ is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice. Last updated 9 March 2023

Learn about eligibility for COVID-19 antiviral medication.

COVID-19 Antivirals

If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19, you may be eligible for COVID-19 antiviral medication if you meet certain criteria. Read the information below to learn about who is eligible for COVID-19 antivirals, how to get them, and how they work.

What’s the process for getting COVID-19 antivirals?

You test positive for
COVID-19

Contact a doctor for advice about eligibility

If a doctor recommends COVID-19 antivirals, they will write a prescription

Get your prescription sent electronically or to a local pharmacy

Who is eligible for COVID-19 antivirals?

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may be eligible for antiviral treatments if you match any of the following:

  • 70 years of age or older, regardless of risk factors and with or without symptoms
  • 60 years of age or older with 1 additional risk factor for developing severe disease
  • 50 years of age or older with 2 additional risk factors for developing severe disease or have had past a COVID-19 infection resulting in hospitalisation
  • First Nations person, 30 years of age or older and with 1 additional risk factor for developing severe disease
  • 18 years of age or older and moderately to severely immunocompromised
  • 18 years of age or older and have been previously hospitalised from COVID-19 disease, if subsequently re-infected.

Risk factors 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
  • past COVID-19 infection episode resulting in hospitalisation

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
  • anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody treatment in the last 12 months
  • cerebral palsy or Down Syndrome
  • congenital heart disease
  • living with disability with multiple conditions and/or frailty

Your eligibility for COVID-19 will be determined at the time of your appointment and is at the doctor’s discretion.

What is the COVID-19 antiviral medication?

There are two COVID-19 antiviral treatments currently available in Australia, Lagevrio® manufactured by Merck and Paxlovid® manufactured by Pfizer. Both are TGA-approved and available through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

The antivirals are taken in the form of a tablet or capsule, or administered intravenously by a doctor, if required.

Eligible patients with a Medicare card can access a course of treatment for $30 or $7.30 for concession card holders under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

The medication can reduce the severity of COVID-19 if taken within the first five days of contracting the illness.

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 doctor about alternative oral treatments.

The information contained in this FAQ is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice. Last updated 9 March 2023

Learn about eligibility for COVID-19 antiviral medication.

If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19, you may be eligible for COVID-19 antiviral medication if you meet certain criteria. Read the information below to learn about who is eligible for COVID-19 antivirals, how to get them, and how they work.

Online telehealth provider

Assess your eligibility and if you qualify consult with a doctor about COVID-19 antiviral medication without leaving home.

$69

Healthengine has partnered with the Telehealth provider featured above and receives fees from this partner.

Local GPs with telehealth

Find a local GP practice to consult with regarding your eligibility for COVID-19 antiviral medication. Medicare rebates available if you have tested positive and are isolating for COVID-19.

What’s the process for getting COVID-19 antivirals?

Who is eligible for COVID-19 antivirals?

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may be eligible for antiviral treatments if you match any of the following:
  • 70 years of age or older, regardless of risk factors and with or without symptoms
  • 60 years of age or older with 1 additional risk factor for developing severe disease
  • 50 years of age or older with 2 additional risk factors for developing severe disease or have had past a COVID-19 infection resulting in hospitalisation
  • First Nations person, 30 years of age or older and with 1 additional risk factor for developing severe disease
  • 18 years of age or older and moderately to severely immunocompromised
  • 18 years of age or older and have been previously hospitalised from COVID-19 disease, if subsequently re-infected.

Risk factors 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
  • past COVID-19 infection episode resulting in hospitalisation

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
  • anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody treatment in the last 12 months
  • cerebral palsy or Down Syndrome
  • congenital heart disease
  • living with disability with multiple conditions and/or frailty

What is the COVID-19 antiviral medication?

There are two COVID-19 antiviral treatments currently available in Australia, Lagevrio® manufactured by Merck and Paxlovid® manufactured by Pfizer. Both are TGA-approved and available through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

The antivirals are taken in the form of a tablet or capsule, or administered intravenously by a doctor, if required.

Eligible patients with a Medicare card can access a course of treatment for $30 or $7.30 for concession card holders under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

The medication can reduce the severity of COVID-19 if taken within the first five days of contracting the illness.

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 doctor about alternative oral treatments.

The information contained in this FAQ is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice. Last updated 9 March 2023

Frequently Asked Questions

There may be specific instances in which you can claim a Medicare or other rebate for telehealth services, but these are defined by Government, and change from time to time. Your eligibility for this will be determined at the time of your appointment and is at the doctors discretion.

For telehealth only providers, Medicare rebates are generally not available.

For local GPs offering telehealth services, Medicare rebates are generally limited to where you have an existing relationship as defined by:
  • where you are registered in MyMedicare and the service is provided by your registered practice
  • when you have previously had a face-to-face appointment with the GP performing the service or another GP at the same practice in the last 12 months
  • where a practice is a participant in the Approved Medical Deputising Service program, and the Approved Medical Deputising Service provider employing the medical practitioner has a formal agreement with a general practice that has provided at least one face-to-face service to the patient in the 12 months preceding the telehealth attendance.

Under legislation, the existing relationship requirement does not apply in some limited situations which can be found on the Medicare Benefits Schedule website
.

No Controlled Drugs (also referred to as S8 (Schedule 8) medications such as narcotics) or other drugs of addiction (such as Valium) will be prescribed by the Telehealth service. Schedule 4 drugs which have the potential to cause harm or be misused such as benzodiazepines, duromine, lyrica, zolpidem, zopiclone, quetiapine and high strength codeine will also not be prescribed. These medications require close monitoring by your regular doctor. Refusal of prescription requests for these types of medications will not result in a refund of Telehealth consult.

For a video consult any smartphone or computer with a camera, speaker, and microphone will work. Your telehealth video consult will open in web browser so there’s no need to download any additional software.

The information contained in this FAQ is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice. Last updated 7 February 2024

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