COVID-19 antiviral medicines

Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand is working with Manatū Hauora - Ministry of Health, Te Aka Whai Ora - Māori Health Authority, Te Puni Kōkiri - Ministry of Māori Development, and Ministry for Pacific Peoples to raise awareness that free antiviral medicines are available to people who are at risk of getting severely ill from COVID-19. Eligible people need to know about antivirals before they get sick, so they can get the medicines quickly if needed. People should stay home and isolate if they feel sick, and call their pharmacist or usual healthcare provider for a phone appointment to talk about antivirals.

Antivirals are free for people eligible under Pharmac’s access criteria

  • Māori or Pacific people aged 50 years or older
  • everyone aged 65 years and older
  • anyone aged 50 years or older with fewer than two COVID-19 vaccinations
  • anyone with a severely weakened immune system
  • anyone with Down syndrome
  • anyone with sickle cell disease
  • anyone previously in critical or high dependency hospital care from COVID-19
  • anyone with three or more high-risk medical conditions.


To be eligible, a patient must have COVID-19 and be experiencing symptoms, or be a household contact of someone with COVID-19 and be experiencing symptoms. We recently updated our clinical guidance on oral therapeutics for the treatment of COVID-19, which you can find on the Te Whatu Ora website. The COVID-19 Health Hub website has information on the criteria and high-risk medical conditions, and is the best place to point the public for Manatū Hauora advice on what to do if you test positive for, or are exposed to, COVID-19.

Socially distanced GP in PPE consults with Pasifika family
COVID-19 antiviral medication is now available for some groups.

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