COVID-19 advice for seniors

How older people can stay COVID safe in the community and find support and information about antiviral medicines, vaccination and testing.

On this page

Simple steps to protect yourself


Icon with doctor

Speak to your doctor before you get sick


Icon Testing Health

Understand what test to do when you feel unwell


Antiviral medicine icon

Check if you're eligible for antivirals


Icon Vaccination Health

Stay up to date with your vaccinations


Staying safe

People aged 70 years and over are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. 

Talk to your doctor now so you know which COVID-19 test you should do if you get sick and if you need antiviral medicines. Your doctor can fill out an antiviral pre-assessment form and discuss which treatment will work best for you.

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 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 vaccine clinic 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).

If you are feeling unwell

Symptoms of COVID‐19 include:

  • fever
  • cough
  • a sore or scratchy throat
  • shortness of breath
  • runny nose
  • loss of smell or
  • loss of taste.

If you are 70 years and older and have COVID-19 symptoms, even if mild, you should get a PCR (nose and throat swab) test as it is more accurate than a rapid antigen test.

If you can’t get a PCR test result quickly, do a rapid antigen test (if you have one) while you wait for the PCR test result.

Follow the NSW Health advice on COVID-19 testing if you are 70 years and older.

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 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.

Service NSW

  • Phone: 13 77 88
  • Open: 7am to 7pm, Monday to Friday, and 9am to 5pm on weekends and public holidays.

Multicultural Health Connect | healthdirect

Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN)

National Coronavirus Helpline

Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National)

National Relay Service

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