COVID-19 test requirement dropped for Paxlovid

photo of Paxlovid pill

It just got easier to get antiviral medication for COVID-19.

Effective Feb. 1, people no longer have to test positive for COVID-19 in order to receive the oral antiviral medication Paxlovid. In removing the testing requirement, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) acknowledges the limited accuracy of COVID-19 tests, allowing health care providers to base treatment decisions on symptoms and exposure history to diagnose and treat COVID-19.

The change also applies to the oral antiviral medication Lagevrio (molnupiravir), which is prescribed only when Paxlovid is unavailable or medically inappropriate.

Whether a patient is prescribed Paxlovid or Lagevrio, it’s important they begin taking the pills within five days of symptom onset. Both medications are taken for five consecutive days and can lessen the chance of severe COVID-19 illness in those at risk. This includes people age 50 and older. It also includes those with underlying medical conditions and people who are under- or unvaccinated against COVID-19. Also, people from communities of color hardest hit by severe COVID-19 can benefit from these medicines.

How to get COVID-19 oral antiviral medication

There are three primary ways to get a prescription for Paxlovid or Lagevrio.

  1. Contact your health care provider, who can determine if you are eligible and prescribe the medication.
  2. If you don’t have access to a health care provider who can quickly determine your eligibility and write a prescription, you can access free online or telephone telehealth services to get evaluated and prescribed free COVID-19 oral antivirals within 24-48 hours, regardless of insurance or citizenship status. Visit, or call 833-273-6330 (toll-free). You must provide an Oregon address to use the service, which is available every day, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., in multiple languages. For more information on this service, visit our blog.

    You can also access telehealth services for COVID-19 antivirals using these QR codes:

      QR codes for Color Health

  3. Visit a Test to Treat site near you. The federal Test to Treat (T2T) program allows you to be evaluated and, if eligible, prescribed antiviral medication at one location. Look for a T2T site near you (search by ZIP code) using this T2T locator tool. The process is free with insurance, but some policies may require a co-pay. Without insurance, you may be charged a fee for the evaluation, but the medication is free.

For more information on COVID-19 treatments, visit our website.