Page last updated 1/26/2024.
If you test positive and are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19, medications are available that can reduce your risk of hospitalization or death.
Don’t delay! Most medications must be started within 5 days after you first develop symptoms to be effective. COVID-19 medications are recommended for most adults and some teens independent of vaccination status. Contact a healthcare provider right away to determine if you are eligible for COVID-19 medications, even if your symptoms are mild.
See below, or click the following links, for more information:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized or approved several antiviral medications to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 in people who are more likely to get very sick . If you test positive for COVID-19 and have mild to moderate symptoms (i.e., non-hospitalized, not requiring oxygen or an increase in home oxygen), you may be eligible for antiviral medications.
- Oral antivirals, such as Paxlovid and Molnupiravir
(Lagevrio), are pills that stop the virus that causes COVID-19
from making copies of itself in your body. They should be taken no
later than 5 days after your first symptoms appear and taken at home
two (2) times a day for five (5) days.
- Available with a prescription from a healthcare provider. Many Community Health Centers also carry Paxlovid or Molnupiravir.
- You can read more in the Paxlovid Fact Sheet for Patients, Parents and Caregivers (Spanish), Frequently Asked Question on the EUA of Paxlovid, Molnupiravir Fact Sheet for Patients, Parents and Caregivers (Spanish) and Frequently Asked Questions on the EUA of Molnupiravir.
- IV antivirals, such as Remdesivir
(Veklury), is given intravenously (by IV or drip) and helps stop
the virus that causes COVID-19 from making copies of itself in your
body. This should be taken no later than 7 days after your first
- Requires a prescription and is given as an IV infusion once a day for three (3) days.
- You can read more in the Frequently Asked Questions on the EUA of Remdesivir.
- The Treatment
Locator can help you find a location that offers testing and
treatment, or a pharmacy where you can fill your prescription.
- Call the Medication Locator at (800) 232-0233.
Home Test to Treat Program is a program
that offers no-cost tests and treatment (if eligible) for COVID-19
and flu at home.
- If you are currently positive for COVID-19 or flu, you can enroll to receive telehealth services and treatment (if prescribed).
- If you are not currently positive for COVID-19 or flu, you can enroll to receive free tests and telemedicine services if you become sick.
- For more information about the program and/or to register, visit www.test2treat.org.
- Call SesameCare at (888)
897-1244 to schedule a no-cost telehealth visit, which includes
a prescription for treatment for those who are eligible. You may
have to pay for the prescription. (Footnote: Paxlovid and Lagevrio
(molnupiravir) have now transitioned to the commercial market).
Below are the steps you should take to get your medication for free
or to get help with your co-pay if you have private insurance.
If you are prescribed Paxlovid:
- Ask your pharmacy if they still have government-purchased supplies. If the pharmacy still has Paxlovid that they received for free from the U.S. government, they must dispense the free supply – you just need to ask.
- If you have Medi-Cal, the cost of Paxlovid is covered at the pharmacy.
- If you are uninsured or have Medicare, enroll in Pfizer’s Patient Assistance Program.Through the end of 2024, people who are uninsured and those who have Medicare coverage will continue to be able to get Paxlovid for free through a patient assistance program. If you’re on Medicare, bring your insurance card with you so the pharmacy can verify your coverage. To sign up for this program, click here or visit www.paxlovid.iassist.com.
- If you have private insurance, call your pharmacy and ask if your insurance covers the cost with no co-pay. If you have a co-pay, you can enroll in Pfizer’s Co-Pay Savings Program (click here to be brought to www.paxlovid.com/enroll-in-co-pay-program). If you are eligible, you will be able to immediately download a card to show at the pharmacy.
If you are prescribed Lagevrio (molnupiravir):
- Ask your pharmacy if they still have government-purchased supplies. If the pharmacy still has Lagevrio that they received for free from the U.S. government, they must dispense the free supply – you just need to ask.
- Once the U.S. Government purchased
(free) supply runs out, the Merck Patient Assistance Program
will provide Lagevrio free of charge to eligible
individuals, primarily the uninsured who, without
assistance, could not afford the medicine. Individuals who
don't meet the insurance criteria may still qualify for this
program if they attest that they have special circumstances
of financial and medical hardship, and their income meets
the program criteria.
- To learn more about the Merck Patient Assistance Program and the eligibility criteria, visit: www.merckhelps.com/LAGEVRIO
- If you believe that you meet the eligibility criteria for the Merck Patient Assistance Program, call toll-free 800-727-5400 and tell the program representative that you are making an Urgent Need request for Lagevrio. Then follow the program representative's instructions to submit your request.
- If you are prescribed Paxlovid:
County of San Diego
- If You Are Sick with COVID-19 Webpage
- Information for Healthcare Providers Webpage
- Treatment Resources Flyer
- Make a Plan this Winter Season Flyer
California Department of Public Health (CDPH)