COVID-19 information for Aboriginal communities
Information for Aboriginal people and communities on COVID-19 to help keep you and your community safe.
Protecting our mob
With COVID-19 circulating in NSW, the best way you and your family can stay well and keep doing the things you love is to:
- Stay up to date with your COVID-19 vaccinations including your booster and additional booster (fourth dose), if eligible to help keep your immunity strong, even if you have already had COVID-19.
- Wear a face mask in public indoor settings, when in large crowds or when you can’t keep your distance from others. Face masks are mandatory in public hospitals, private health facilities and residential aged care facilities.
- Stay home if you’re not feeling well. Do a PCR test (or a rapid antigen test if you can’t get a PCR test and register a positive COVID-19 result on Service NSW).
- If your result is negative, stay at home until you feel better. If your test is positive, you need to self-isolate immediately and follow the testing positive to COVID-19 and managing COVID-19 at home advice.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are aged 30 years and over with 2 or more risk factors for severe illness, anyone aged 70 and over, and people who have other health conditions, may be eligible for antiviral medicines. They need to be taken quickly after testing positive to COVID-19. Speak to your doctor or Aboriginal Health Worker about antiviral medicines so you can understand your options if you test positive to COVID-19.
- Get tested if you have any COVID-19 symptoms, even if you’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19.
- Get together with family, friends or colleagues outdoors or in well-ventilated areas.
- Wash your hands or sanitise regularly.
- Have a yarn with your GP, pharmacist, Aboriginal Medical Service or Aboriginal Health Worker if you have any questions about COVID-19 or your health.
By taking these steps, you can help keep you and your loved ones safe.
COVID-19 booster dose
Booster doses are recommended for anyone 16 years and over. You can get a booster dose 3 months after your second vaccination (or 3 months after a confirmed COVID-19 infection).
A booster strengthens your protection against serious illness up to 95%. Two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine are not enough – getting your booster is an important way to maximise your protection and help stop you from getting really sick.
Additional COVID-19 booster (second booster)
Everyone aged 50 years and over is strongly recommended to get an additional COVID-19 booster vaccine (second booster) 3 months after your first booster dose to help keep your immunity strong. People aged 30 and over can also get an additional booster.
If you get COVID-19 before your booster, wait 3 months to receive it.
COVID-19 vaccines used in Australia are safe and are effective against COVID-19. All people aged 5 and older are eligible to get COVID-19 vaccines.
Vaccination is recommended for children aged 6 months to under 5 who are severely immunocompromised, have a disability, or have complex and/or multiple health conditions which increase the risk of severe COVID-19. Vaccination is not currently recommended for children aged 6 months to under 5 years who are not in the above risk categories for severe COVID-19.
Get your COVID-19 vaccines
Visit a NSW Health Vaccination Centre, your local GP, pharmacy, or Aboriginal Medical Service to receive a vaccine.
To speak to someone one-on-one about COVID-19 vaccination, call the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080. You can also SMS “Hey EVA” to 0481 611 382 if you need support to get a vaccine.
If you have any questions about the COVID-19 vaccines, have a yarn with your GP, pharmacist, Aboriginal Medical Service or Aboriginal Health Worker.
Getting tested for COVID-19
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should get tested immediately and stay home until you no longer have symptoms.
- Sore throat
- Shortness or breath (difficulty breathing)
- Runny nose
- Loss or taste and smell.
What COVID-19 test should I do?
Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Pacific Islander people aged 35 and over are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
This means it’s critical to get tested with a PCR (nose and throat swab) test at a testing clinic immediately if you have symptoms, or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, as these tests are more accurate.
You can find a free testing clinic near you by using our testing clinics finder tool.
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.
For further information, see the What COVID-19 test should I do? (PDF 99.66KB) fact sheet.
What happens if my test is positive?
If you test positive to COVID-19, your doctor may be able to prescribe you antiviral medicines, if you’re eligible, to stop you from getting really sick.
Antivirals work best if they are taken within 5 days from the start of symptoms, which is why it is a good idea to speak to your doctor or Aboriginal Health Worker now about antiviral medication so you can ask questions and understand your options early in case you do get COVID-19.
You must follow the self-isolation advice for people testing positive to COVID-19 and managing COVID-19 safely at home.
Anyone who has been exposed to a person with COVID-19 must follow the household and close contact guidelines.
Read the rules if you need to self-isolate.
What are antivirals?
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 and go to hospital.
Antivirals need to be taken as soon as possible, usually within 5 days from when symptoms start. They come in either pill form, to be taken by the mouth, or can be given intravenously (directly into the bloodstream).
COVID-19 antivirals do not work against other viruses like flu. They are only given to eligible people and people who have tested positive to COVID-19 with a rapid antigen test (RAT) or nose and throat swab (PCR) test.
Remember, vaccination is still your best protection against COVID-19.
Who is eligible to receive antivirals?
- Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island people aged 30 years and older with 2 or more risk factors for severe illness.
- Everyone aged 70 and over.
- Immunocompromised people over 18 may also be eligible.
If you test positive to COVID-19, have symptoms but do not require hospitalisation, and are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, you may also be eligible for antivirals.
How to access antivirals
It's important to get in touch with your doctor as soon as you test positive to COVID-19.
If you can't speak to your doctor or Aboriginal Health Worker, contact healthdirect on 1800 022 222, or NSW Health's COVID-19 and Flu Care at Home Support Line on 1800 960 933, who can check if you're eligible for antiviral medicines.
Speak to your doctor or Aboriginal Health Worker now about antiviral medicines so you can ask questions and understand your options in case you get COVID-19.
Staying safe at large gatherings and sorry business
COVID-19 spreads easily between family members, especially when we gather together for joyful celebrations or sorry business.
It is important to stay safe when attending large gatherings, including sorry business, to help protect your family, friends and community.
- Do not attend any event if you feel unwell, even if you have been vaccinated.
- Get a PCR (nose and throat swab) test and self-isolate to keep yourself and others safe.
- Encourage your guests to get tested before a large gathering as an additional precaution to keep everyone safe.
- Wear a face mask if you’re in a public indoor space or in large crowds and wherever you can’t physically distance.
- Wash your hands well and often and keep some hand sanitiser with you.
Looking after your mental health and wellbeing
COVID-19 can impact you, your family and friends in different ways.
It’s important to keep looking after yourself and others, and build these simple actions into each day:
- Connect with friends and family
- Maintain connection with culture
- Stick to a daily routine or create a new one
- Move your body as much as you can
- Eat a range of healthy foods.
If you or someone you know needs help, there is always support available. Speak with someone you trust or reach out to on support services available in NSW. There are also wellbeing resources and tips available.