Protecting older people in the festive season

Older age continues to be the biggest risk factor for severe COVID-19 disease.

If you are spending time with an older person during the festive season, remember the basics:

wash your hands
practice physical distancing
stay home if you’re unwell
get your recommended vaccine doses
wear a mask in crowded spaces.
If you are visiting an aged care home you may also need to:

test before your visit
wear a mask
find an outdoor space to spend the time together.

Vaccination doses

COVID-19 vaccination reduces the risk of serious illness, hospitalisation and death.

People aged 75 years or older, are recommended to get an additional COVID-19 vaccine if it has been 6 months since their last COVID-19 dose or confirmed infection.

People aged between 65 to 74, and those aged 18 to 64 with severe immunocompromise, should consider an additional dose after they have talked to their health care provider.

If you are unsure of whether you have had a COVID-19 infection in the last 6 months, it is safe to get another dose.

Everyone aged 65 years and older are recommended to have a COVID-19 booster this year. If you have not had one yet, it’s not too late.

To find a COVID-19 vaccine clinic near you:

Speak with your doctor or pharmacist
Book an appointment on the health service finder.
Call the healthdirect helpline on 1800 022 222 if you need COVID-19 advice.

All COVID-19 vaccines are anticipated to provide benefit to eligible people. However, the monovalent Omicron XBB.1.5 vaccines are preferred over other vaccines for eligible people.

See the department’s website for COVID-19 vaccination information.

Oral antiviral treatments
Oral antiviral treatments are safe and effective in reducing the severity of COVID-19. These treatments are available to people at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 including people 70 years and older.

Be prepared, if you are aged 70 years or older, we encourage you to have an early discussion with your GP or nurse practitioner about:

whether an oral antiviral suits your health needs
developing a COVID-19 plan if you test positive to COVID-19 including how to acess antivirals quickly if you need them.
You must start the treatment as soon as possible or within 5 days of COVID-19 symptoms beginning.