People at higher risk of coronavirus (COVID-19)

Some people are at greater risk of more serious illness with COVID-19. Find out the extra steps needed 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. This risk can be reduced by getting vaccinated against COVID-19. It is important to talk to your doctor if you think you might be at higher risk to organise vaccination and find out how you can protect yourself against COVID-19.

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

Who is at greater risk of severe illness

You are at greater risk of severe illness from COVID-19 if you are unvaccinated and are:

  • are 70 years of age or over
  • solid organ transplant recipients who are on immune suppressive therapy
  • bone marrow transplant recipients
  • are on immune suppressive therapy for graft versus host disease
  • blood cancer eg leukaemia, lymphoma or myelodysplastic syndrome
  • non-haematological cancer diagnosed within the past 5 years or on chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy or targeted anti-cancer therapy (active treatment or recently completed) or with advanced disease regardless of treatment
  • survivors of childhood cancers
  • chronic inflammatory conditions requiring medical treatments
  • primary or acquired immunodeficiency
  • 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)
  • poorly controlled blood pressure (may increase risk – speak to your doctor)
  • pregnant people
  • significant disability requiring frequent assistance with activities of daily living
  • severe mental health conditions.

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.

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

COVID-19 vaccination reduces the risk of getting infected. If you get infected, COVID-19 vaccination reduces the risk of:

  • severe COVID-19
  • hospitalisation
  • death in all people, including those at increased risk of severe COVID-19.

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 to organise vaccination against COVID-19 and complete a COVID-19 Action Plan.

Last updated: 
12 October 2021

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