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.

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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 recommended vaccinations


Staying safe

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. To get help over the phone, call 1800 022 222

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 you can't contact your doctor, call Healthdirect on 1800 022 222 or use the online Service Finder to find a doctor near you.

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.

If you have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19

If you live with or have spent a long time with someone who has COVID-19, you are at increased risk of getting COVID-19.

Monitor for symptoms (such as a runny nose, sore throat, fever, cough). If you get sick, NSW Health recommends that you get tested and stay home until your symptoms have gone away.

See Advice for people exposed to COVID-19 for more information.

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.
  • Get together outdoors or in large, well-ventilated spaces with open doors and windows. If possible, ask friends and family to take a rapid antigen test before gathering.
  • Avoid crowded spaces.

Practice good hand hygiene, including regular handwashing

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 large, well-ventilated spaces, when possible, with open doors and windows.

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.

Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN)


Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National)

National Relay Service

  • Phone:133 677
  • Call the National Relay Service if you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment.
  • Find out more about the National Relay Service
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