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People with disability

Information about COVID-19 for people with disability and people caring for them

Key points

Auslan

For COVID-19 information in Auslan, visit Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Auslan.

COVID-19 medicines

People with a high risk of getting very sick with COVID-19 can get medicine to help them stay well. There are medicines to:

  • treat COVID-19 symptoms if you get infected
  • reduce your chances of getting COVID-19.

Some of these medicines are called ‘oral treatments’ or 'antivirals'. They stop people from getting so sick that they need to go to hospital.

You need to start taking oral antiviral COVID-19 medicine within 5 days of getting sick. This is why it is important to get tested for COVID-19 as soon as you notice any symptoms. You should take the medicine even if your symptoms are mild.

A GP or a GP Respiratory Clinic can assess if you need these medicines and prescribe them for you or refer you to a hospital. If you are unable to get an appointment at a GP or GP Respiratory Clinic, call the Coronavirus Hotline for assistance on 1800 675 398.

Find out if you can get COVID-19 medicines if you get sick.

Testing

Rapid antigen tests (RATs) are the easiest way to test for COVID-19.

You should take a RAT:

  • if you have COVID-19 symptoms, even if they’re very mild
  • if you have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 before visiting a hospital, aged care facility, or disability care facility
  • before visiting elderly people, people with disability or people at higher risk of severe COVID-19 illness.

COVID-19 can spread before you have symptoms. You can protect others by checking that you are negative before you leave home.

Learn more about RATs and how to use them.

If you are at high risk of severe illness and have symptoms, you should speak to a GP about a PCR test even if you have tested negative on a RAT. This is so you can get any help you need, including COVID antiviral medicine, as quickly as possible.

If you can’t get an appointment to see a GP, you can make an appointment with a GP respiratory clinic or contact the Victorian Virtual Emergency DepartmentExternal Link .

For more information see Get a COVID-19 test.

Vaccination

Getting vaccinated protects you against COVID-19, helps prevent you from getting seriously ill and reduces the spread of COVID-19 to others.

COVID-19 vaccines are available free for everyone aged 5 and over at pharmacies and GPs.

If you or the person you are booking for needs additional support to receive a vaccination, Disability Liaison Officers (DLOs) can help you.

Contact a DLO by emailing DLOcoordinator@dhhs.vic.gov.au.

For easy read resources on vaccinations visit the Australian Government Department of Health’s COVID-19 Vaccination - Easy read resourcesExternal Link webpage.

For more information about vaccinations visit the get vaccinated webpage.

COVID Positive Pathways

COVID Positive Pathways provides targeted care and support for Victorians diagnosed with COVID-19 who need support to recover or who experience barriers to accessing care. This includes people with a disability or carers of people with a disability needing help to recover at home.

The program is delivered by Victorian health services, through community health services and hospitals, in collaboration with Aboriginal health services and other providers, and coordinated by the Victorian Department of Health.

The program also connects you to other important services you may need while sick, including food relief and essential supplies, medicines and other services.

Find out more information about COVID Positive Pathways.

Mental health

For people with disability, this may be a particularly challenging time due to uncertainty, increased social isolation or financial hardship. The impact can be significant especially for those with cognitive impairment and those already living with complex mental health issues.

There are tips for mental well being and resources of people with disability and their carers and families on the mental health support webpage.

Other Resources:

Family violence resources

Read the Violence against women with disabilitiesExternal Link factsheet from Women with Disabilities Victoria.

Visit the 1800RESPECTExternal Link webpage for information on Sunny, an app for women with disability experiencing violence and abuse.

Resources in easy read to support people with disability who have experienced sexual assault are available on the Centre Against Sexual Assault (CASA)External Link web page.

Read Easy English resources on how to get help if you are experiencing family violence during COVID-19.

Support for children, young people and families

Information for families with children with disability.

  • Visit the Association for Children with DisabilityExternal Link web page for information and resources to support families and children with disability. You can also call them on 03 9880 7000 or 1800 654 013 (regional).
  • I CAN Network provides online peer mentoring sessions for autistic young people aged 9 to 20. Find out more about the I CAN NetworkExternal Link on their web page.
  • Visit a MyTimeExternal Link group nearest you. MyTime is free support for all parents and family carers of children with disability. MyTime is a place to socialise, to discuss, to get information, and to support and be supported by other carers.
  • Visit the Amaze Coronavirus HubExternal Link webpage for information about autism and supports for autistic people, parents and carers, other family members and professionals. They have free online learning resources and a directory of support groups.

Reviewed 31 December 2022

Coronavirus Victoria

Coronavirus Hotline

Call the Coronavirus Hotline if you need help to report a rapid antigen test (RAT) or if you have any questions about COVID-19.

The Victorian Coronavirus Hotline diverts to the National Coronavirus Helpline every night between 4pm and 9am.

Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only.

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