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N.H. is using telehealth to expand access to a key COVID-19 treatment

The Pfizer COVID treatment Paxlovid can be a challenge to get quickly.
Fabian Sommer
Picture Alliance via Getty Images
The Pfizer COVID treatment Paxlovid can be a challenge to get quickly.

The state is launching a telehealth program to expand access to Paxlovid for New Hampshire residents. The antiviral treatment reduces severe illness among people at high risk from COVID-19.

Plenty of Paxlovid is available in New Hampshire, Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette said at Wednesday’s Executive Council meeting, but it has to be prescribed within days of someone coming down with COVID-19 to be most effective. Many doctors can’t schedule appointments in time or aren’t comfortable prescribing it, she said.

“Because it requires a prescription from the physician, the public wasn’t always able to get that prescription within the allotted 72-hour timeframe,” Shibinette said. “This will help alleviate that.”

Starting tomorrow, New Hampshire residents can make appointments with Newport-based On-site Medical Services for free video or phone consultations. The company’s clinicians will evaluate patients remotely and prescribe them the drugs when appropriate. Patients can then pick up the pills at a local pharmacy or have them delivered directly to their home via overnight mail.

The Executive Council on Wednesday approved a $3.4 million contract for the new telehealth program, which uses federal money from the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act.

Paxlovid can be prescribed to people who test positive for COVID-19 and are considered at high risk due to their age or underlying health conditions. A clinical trial showed that the treatmentsubstantially reduces the risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death.

The state health department says people who test positive for COVID-19 and think they could benefit from Paxlovid should contact their primary care providers about a telehealth appointment. Those who can’t get a telehealth appointment with their usual doctor, or don’t have a primary care provider, can book one with On-Site Medical Services.

To make an appointment, visit or call 800-816-5803.

Paul Cuno-Booth covers health and equity for NHPR. He previously worked as a reporter and editor for The Keene Sentinel, where he wrote about police accountability, local government and a range of other topics. He can be reached at

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