Our response to the pandemic
Find out how we're responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, and who we're working with to limit the spread of the virus and protect everyone in Australia.
A whole of government response
When a major health issue like COVID-19 faces our country we work with state and territory governments to:
- share information so they can provide the best possible care
- ensure the response is consistent and integrated across the country.
Our whole of government response aims to:
- minimise the number of people becoming infected or sick with COVID-19
- minimise how sick people become and the mortality rate
- manage the demand on our health systems
- help you to manage your own risk and the risk to your family and community
- make COVID-19 vaccines available to everyone in Australia.
We are working hard to ensure everyone aged 12 years and over in Australia has access to a COVID-19 vaccine. Learn more about the vaccine rollout.
The first oral treatments for COVID-19 in Australia, Lagevrio® (molnupiravir) and Paxlovid® (nirmatrelvir + ritonavir), were provisionally approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) on 18 January 2022.
The advantage of these oral medications is that many people will be able to receive treatment for COVID-19 in their own homes without the need to travel to hospital for treatment as an inpatient.
Read more about the oral treatments.
Operation COVID Shield
Operation COVID Shield works to ensure public confidence in the Australian COVID-19 vaccine rollout, and to ensure as many Australians are vaccinated as early as possible.
Rapid antigen test (RAT) distribution
The Australian Government is ensuring RATs are available to the people who need them most, to curb the spread of infection in communities and identify new COVID-19 cases quickly.
Funding of $250 million will be allocated for the continued distribution of RATs to:
- Residential Aged Care facilities
- Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Services
- GP-led Respiratory Clinics
- remote and rural communities where there is limited access to testing.
Funding of $267 million from this investment will deliver RATs to Supported Independent Living (SIL) residential Disability care services.
Our medical experts
The Australian Government has put together a team of widely respected clinicians to assist with the COVID-19 response. Led by Professor Paul Kelly, Australia's Chief Medical Officer, our medical experts are:
- Adjunct Professor (Practice) Alison McMillan PSM, Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer
Professor Michael Kidd AM, Deputy Chief Medical Officer
Dr Ruth Vine, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Mental Health
Dr Steph Davis, Deputy Chief Medical Officer
Dr Sonya Bennett, Deputy Chief Medical Officer.
Our expert committees
Australian Health Protection Principal Committee
The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) is the key decision making committee for health emergencies. It is comprised of all state and territory Chief Health Officers and is chaired by the Australian Chief Medical Officer.
Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) advises the Minister for Health on the National Immunisation Program (NIP) and other immunisation issues.
Communicable Diseases Network Australia
The Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA) provides national public health co-ordination and leadership, and supports best practice for the prevention and control of communicable diseases.
Infection Control Expert Group
The Infection Control Expert Group (ICEG) advises the AHPPC and its other standing committees on infection prevention and control issues.
Public Health Laboratory Network
The Public Health Laboratory Network (PHLN) is a collaborative group of laboratories, with expertise and services in public health microbiology in Australia and New Zealand.
Our response plans
The Australian Government bases its response on several key plans, see the collection.