Not everyone who tests positive for Covid-19 will get a prescription for antiviral pills, said Dr. Annie Luetkemeyer, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of California, San Francisco. To be eligible, you must test positive and have symptoms that started within five days or fewer. You must also be at increased risk of developing severe Covid-19.

Those who are asymptomatic, or who have symptoms but are not higher risk, will not be eligible.

While this may seem like very specific criteria, many people in the United States have medical conditions that would qualify them for the high-risk category, Dr. Luetkemeyer said. That includes all adults 65 and older, as well as those of any age with certain health conditions like heart disease, cancer, diabetes or obesity, she said.

It’s important, though, that you get treatment within five days of the start of your symptoms. “That’s pretty soon because people often don’t test the first day they have symptoms,” Dr. Luetkemeyer said. “You might feel a little bit lousy and think maybe you just have a cold that’ll go away.” But if you wait more than five days, you will no longer be able to take the oral medicines, she said.

And while federal guidelines prioritize treatment for those who are unvaccinated or who are not fully vaccinated and boosted, your vaccination status will not affect your eligibility.

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