Advice for people at risk of coronavirus (COVID-19)

Some people are at greater risk of more serious illness with COVID-19. As we move towards living in a COVIDSafe Australia, people still need to take extra steps to protect those most at risk.

Looking for information about COVID-19 vaccines? Read the latest news and information.

Some people are at greater risk of getting very sick if they contract COVID-19. However, everyone is different. It is important to talk to your doctor if you have a more serious illness or more than one condition.

First Nations people can be at higher risk in any public health emergency.

Who is at high risk of severe illness

You are at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 if you:

  • are 70 years of age or over
  • have had an organ transplant and are on immune suppressive therapy
  • have had a bone marrow transplant in the last 24 months
  • are on immune suppressive therapy for graft versus host disease
  • have blood cancer eg leukaemia, lymphoma or myelodysplastic syndrome (diagnosed within the last 5 years)
  • are having chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

Who is at moderate risk of severe illness

You are at moderate risk of severe illness from COVID-19 if you have:

  • chronic renal (kidney) failure
  • heart disease (coronary heart disease or failure)
  • chronic lung disease (excludes mild or moderate asthma)
  • a non-haematological cancer (diagnosed in the last 12 months)
  • diabetes
  • severe obesity with a BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2
  • chronic liver disease
  • some neurological conditions (stroke, dementia, other) (speak to your doctor about your risk)
  • some chronic inflammatory conditions and treatments (speak to your doctor about your risk)
  • other primary or acquired immunodeficiency (speak to your doctor about your risk)
  • poorly controlled blood pressure (may increase risk – speak to your doctor).

Other things that might affect your risk

Having 2 or more conditions might increase your risk, regardless of your age. If your condition is severe or poorly controlled, this might also increase your risk of serious illness from COVID-19. Speak to your doctor about your risk.

Other factors might also increase your risk of severe illness if you contract COVID-19, including:

  • age - risk increases as you get older, even for those under 70
  • being male
  • poverty
  • smoking.

Advice for specific communities and groups

For information on how you can stay safe and healthy read the Living well in the COVID-19 pandemic fact sheet. This fact sheet will help you to make COVIDSafe decisions about work, transport and social activities.

You may also like to talk to you doctor and complete a COVID-19 Action Plan.

Read more about how to reduce the risk for particular community groups who might be more at risk of exposure to COVID-19, or severe illness:

Last updated: 
1 February 2021

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