Fourth Vaccine Dose and Antiviral Prescriptions Can Help Residents Most At Risk of Severe Illness

Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC) and Peterborough Public Health (PPH) would like to remind residents who are immunocompromised or on immunosuppressive medication that additional support is available for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.

Residents who are immunocompromised due to a health condition or medication side effect are at increased risk for moderate to severe symptoms due to COVID-19 infection.

“The COVID-19 Assessment Centre at PRHC is available to all residents who have moderate symptoms of COVID-19, such as a more troublesome cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing,” said Dr. Lynn Mikula, EVP, Chief of Staff and Chief Medical Executive at PRHC. “If you are experiencing moderate symptoms, please contact your family practitioner or call the Assessment Centre at 705-876-5086 and be clear about the symptoms you are experiencing. Based on your symptoms and other eligibility criteria, you may qualify for PCR testing and treatment for COVID-19.

“Anyone who is experiencing severe, potentially life-threatening symptoms, such as extreme shortness of breath, chest pain, new confusion, inability to wake up or stay awake, should call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Department,” added Dr. Mikula.

Patients who are immunocompromised due to a health condition or medication and who are experiencing moderate symptoms of COVID-19 are eligible for PCR testing and treatment – such as Paxlovid – and antiviral medication. Antiviral medications are administered to patients with confirmed, positive cases of COVID-19 as a way to reduce the spread of the virus post-infection.

“Eligibility for COVID-19 treatment is expanding, and some individuals may not know they are eligible for treatment,” said Dr. Mikula. “We recommend that any resident with moderate symptoms of COVID-19 reach out to their family practitioner or the PRHC Assessment Centre to see if they are eligible.”

Additional criteria for COVID-19 testing can be found on PRHC’s website. Appointments at the COVID-19 Assessment Centre are available seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and must be booked by calling 705-876-5086.

In addition, residents who are immunocompromised or on immunosuppressive medication are eligible for a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Residents who are immunocompromised due to health condition or medication, may experience a reduced immune response to the COVID-19 vaccine. A fourth dose is available for eligible residents to improve their immune response to a COVID-19 infection,” said Dr. Thomas Piggott, Medical Officer of Health for Peterborough Public Health. “With the lifting of provincial COVID-19 safety measures, residents who are immunocompromised or on immunosuppressive medication should take every opportunity to prevent a severe COVID-19 infection,” Dr. Piggott added, “Residents who fit into this category should speak with their healthcare provider to confirm their eligibility and receive a referral form.” Residents who are eligible for a fourth dose can bring their referral form to receive a fourth dose at any Peterborough Public Health COVID-19 vaccine clinic.

More information about COVID-19 vaccine availability can be found on the Peterborough Public Health vaccine webpage.

Information about the COVID-19 assessment centre and PCR testing eligibility can be found on the PRHC COVID-19 Testing webpage.

Flow chart with COVID-19 symptoms and testing suggestions


For further information, please contact:

Brittany Cadence

Communications Manager

Peterborough Public Health

705-743-1000, ext. 391

Michelene Ough

Director, Communications

Peterborough Regional Health Centre