Additional 2023 COVID-19 vaccine dose (booster)
1 September 2023 – The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has recommended some people at higher risk of severe illness get an additional 2023 COVID-19 vaccine dose (booster) if eligible. Read what the latest advice from ATAGI means for you.
COVID-19 testing in NSW
Since 13 May 2023, you need a referral from your doctor to get a COVID-19 PCR test. Many testing clinics have now closed.
For most people, if you have COVID-19 symptoms, please do a rapid antigen test (RAT). RATs are available for free at Service NSW service centres, mobile service centres and recovery centres. Find a RAT near you.
If you are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, contact your doctor for testing advice. You should still do a RAT, but your doctor might recommend also having a PCR test. PCR tests are free for anyone eligible under Medicare.
If your doctor recommends a PCR test, they will give you a pathology referral form for a PCR test. Your doctor can tell you where you can get a PCR test.
Simple steps to protect yourself
Speak to your doctor before you get sick
Understand what test to do when you feel unwell
Check if you're eligible for antivirals
Stay up to date with your recommended vaccinations
People aged 70 years and over are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
Speak to your doctor about which COVID-19 test is right for you before you get sick. Ask your doctor whether they recommend COVID-19 antiviral medicines or other treatments for COVID-19 if you test positive.
Antiviral medicines work best when taken as soon as possible, usually within 5 days from when your symptoms start.
Vaccinations for seniors
Stay up to date with recommended COVID-19 vaccinations to help protect yourself.
You may be eligible for an additional COVID-19 vaccination. For more information visit COVID-19 booster vaccination or talk to your doctor or vaccination provider about your needs and vaccination options.
Book your vaccination
Find a vaccine clinic that meets your needs by using the healthdirect Service Finder.
EVA (Easy Vaccine Access) is a simple callback service to help you book a COVID-19 vaccine. If you need help making a COVID-19 vaccine booking, send an SMS with 'Hey EVA' to 0481 611 382 (every day, 7am to 10pm AEST).
Getting tested for COVID-19
If you have COVID-19 symptoms (runny nose, sore throat, cough or fever), contact your doctor for testing advice.
If your doctor recommends a COVID-19 PCR test, they will give you a pathology referral form for a free COVID-19 PCR test.
The referral form will have a private pathology provider location on it which you will need to visit so you can get tested.
For more information, visit What COVID-19 test should I do?
For more information if you test positive to COVID-19, visit Testing positive to COVID-19 and managing COVID-19 safely at home.
COVID-19 antiviral medicines
Antiviral medicines target the virus that causes COVID-19, to help stop it from infecting healthy cells in your body and multiplying. This means you are less likely to get very sick or need to go to hospital.
People aged 70 years and older are eligible to receive antiviral medicines if they test positive to COVID-19.
Antivirals work best when taken as soon as possible, usually within 5 days from when your symptoms start.
Talk to your doctor about antiviral medicines or contact healthdirect on 1800 022 222.
General advice to avoid COVID-19
Ways to help reduce your risk of COVID-19:
- Stay up to date with your recommended COVID-19 vaccinations.
- Wear a face mask indoors and when you can’t physically distance from others, such as on public transport.
- Gather with friends or family outdoors or in well-ventilated areas. If possible, ask friends and family to take a rapid antigen test before gathering.
- Wash your hands and use hand sanitiser regularly.
Visiting people in aged or disability care
We all need to take steps to keep people who are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 safe.
If you have friends or family members who live in aged or disability care, you can help them by:
- contacting the residential care facility before you visit to check if there are any current entry restrictions or arrangements and also check NSW Health advice for residential aged care facilities
- staying in touch, but not visiting them if you are unwell
- doing a rapid antigen test before you visit, if possible
- meeting outdoors or in well-ventilated areas, when possible, and maintaining physical distancing.
Read more about visiting people in aged care or disability care.
Information and advice
You can call these free services for information about COVID-19.
- Phone: 13 77 88
- Open: 7am to 7pm, Monday to Friday, and 9am to 5pm on weekends and public holidays.
Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN)
- Phone: 1800 237 981
- Open: 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm on Saturday.
- The COVID-19 Information Line is available for seniors to talk about your COVID-19 concerns.
- Older Persons Advocacy Network website
National Coronavirus Helpline
- Phone: 1800 020 080
- Open: 24 hours, 7 days a week.
- Information on COVID-19 and vaccines.
- Department of Health website
Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National)
- Phone: 13 14 50
- 24 hours, 7 days a week.
- Free help in your language.
- Translating and Interpreting Service website