KUCHING: The Paxlovid antiviral pill, developed by Pfizer, should not be given to COVID-19 patients randomly.
“It is not suitable for Category 1 (no symptoms) and Category 2 (mild symptoms) patients because these pills are for Category 4 patients (lung infection and needing oxygen) and those in Category 5 (lung infection and needing ventilator),” said Deputy Premier Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian.
The pill is now available in Sarawak but currently only at government hospitals and not at any pharmacy throughout the state, he said.
“This is because, this pill is a new medicine and it must always be monitored and prescribed by experts based on the criteria and rules set,” he said after officiating at the FAME International College 18th Graduation Ceremony at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here today.
Meanwhile, on the cases of the highly contagious Omicron variant of BA.2.12.1 and BA.5 which were detected in Sarawak recently, Dr Sim who is also Public Health, Housing and Local Government Minister urged the public to get a second booster vaccination.
“Don’t wait until a major outbreak, everybody quickly go join the queue … it is very well established who are the people eligible, and what you need to do is to go the nearest health clinic or the private clinic but some of these places inform them earlier,” he said.
As to when the wearing of face masks will be completely abolished, Dr Sim said it would have to be determined by the medical experts.
“This is because it will take into account a number of factors, depending on how many people are vaccinated, and to what extent, what is the level of immunity of the people and whether the people are ready or not.
“We are trying our best to return to normal but at the same time we must ensure that our hospitals are not filling up and death rates not climbing, ” he said.