Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for people with disability

It is important we all take care to protect people with disability from coronavirus.

Why people with disability are at risk

Some people with disability will be at greater risk of more serious illness if infected by coronavirus. Reasons for this include chronic conditions or a weakened immune system.

Physical distancing can also be difficult or impossible for some people with disability. This includes those who rely on support and assistance from family members, carers and support workers.

Some people with disability also face barriers to implementing basic hygiene measures and safely wearing face masks.

See our advice for people at risk.

Protecting yourself

As we move towards a COVIDSafe Australia and states and territories ease physical distancing measures, it’s vital to do everything you can to continue to protect yourself and others from coronavirus, including:

Wearing a mask can help protect you and those around you if you are in an area with community transmission and physical distancing is not possible, like on public transport. It is an important protective measure for people at increased risk of severe COVID-19 living in these areas.

Some people with disability will be unable to safely wear a mask due to physical, medical or behavioural reasons. Consult your doctor if you are uncertain whether wearing a mask is safe for you.

Read our latest advice on masks and an Easy Read advice on masks. It is also important to stay up to date with the latest state/territory advice on masks.

Make sure you continue to go to any scheduled appointments with your doctor. If you are worried about going to see them in person, contact them to arrange a telehealth consultation.

You can also:

  • speak to your pharmacist about having medication delivered to you
  • consider getting groceries and other essentials delivered – a priority service is available for NDIS participants.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Easy Read resources

Information about COVID-19 in Easy Read format.

Also see the Department of Social Service's accessible, easy read, coronavirus (COVID-19) resources.

Services and support

Telehealth services

You can access bulk-billed telehealth services from your doctor, nurse or mental health professional via phone or videoconference. Learn more about telehealth services.

Electronic prescriptions

We are fast tracking electronic prescription for up to 80% of general practices and community pharmacies for those at greater risk of serious illness.

Ordering prescription medications from home

You might be eligible to have prescription medications delivered from your regular pharmacy through the Home Medicines Service.

Learn more about Home Medicines Services or contact your local pharmacist.

Stay connected and care for your mental health

Being isolated can be stressful and hard to manage. Learn more about how to manage isolation.

Prioritising your mental wellbeing is an important part of staying healthy. The Government’s Head to Health website is the best place to start if you need some help coping with anxiety and worry about coronavirus.

You can also visit the new Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service provided by BeyondBlue.

Supporting people with disability

People with disability

Looking after your health during coronavirus

Coronavirus is a virus that is making people sick in Australia and overseas. In this Easy Read Info Guide you can find out how to look after your health during Coronavirus.

If you think you have coronavirus

This Easy Read guide is about what to do if you think you have Coronavirus. This guide includes symptoms of coronavirus, testing, what happens if you have coronavirus, and what your health and disability support workers must do.

Person-centred emergency preparedness planning for COVID-19

This resource assists people with disability to plan for how they will manage the impacts of the pandemic. It is important that people with disability have a plan that is tailored to their unique support needs. This resource was co-designed with people with disability and their representatives and is also available in Easy Read.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) hospital companion for people with disability

This tool can assist a person with disability if they need to go to hospital. The COVID-19 companion helps to convey important personal information to health professionals.

Families

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Information for Families

This fact sheet provides information for families of a person with intellectual or developmental disability during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Return to School for Students with Disability COVID-19 Risk Management Plan

This plan can help prepare for the return to school. The document is an optional resource for parents and carers. It can aid discussions with a student’s school and doctor on strategies to reduce risks in the school environment.

Support workers, carers and health professionals

Information for support workers, carers and health professionals who support people with disability is available on our workforce page.

Management and Operational Plan for People with Disability

The Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus guides the Australian health sector response. This management and operational plan focuses on people with disability. An Easy Read version is also available.

The plan was overseen by the Advisory Committee for the COVID-19 Response for People with Disability.

Auslan videos

COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan for People with Disabilities – Evaluating the response – Auslan
5:23
Read transcript

Read Part 2 – Stand down and evaluate actions of the Management and Operational Plan for People with Disability.

COVID-19 vaccine videos

See our Auslan videos on COVID-19 vaccines.

More information

Information and support about coronavirus (COVID-19) is also available from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) website.

Contact your local state and territory health departments for information about your local health system arrangements. 

If you have concerns about your health, speak to your doctor.

Watch the NDIS video about how to get and use the COVIDSafe app.

National coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccine helpline

If you need information about COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccines or help with the COVIDSafe app, call 1800 020 080. If you need assistance with booking a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, please note the call centre is unable to book appointments on your behalf.

View contact

Disability Information Helpline

Call for information and referrals for people with disability who need help because of coronavirus (COVID-19). You can call Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm (AEST). The helpline is not available on national public holidays. Family members, carers, support workers and services can also call.

View contact

National Relay Service

If you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment, you can use the National Relay Service to access any of the department's contact phone numbers. The service is available 24 hours a day from anywhere in Australia

View contact

Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National)

TIS National is for people who do not speak English and for agencies and businesses that need to communicate with their non-English speaking clients.

View contact

Last updated: 
19 February 2021

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