People with medical conditions — coronavirus (COVID-19)

Some medical conditions increase your risk of severe illness from COVID-19. If you are at a higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19, the best chance of protecting yourself and others is to get vaccinated, if your health condition allows you to do so.

High risk of severe illness

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

  • 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 e.g. leukaemia, lymphoma or myelodysplastic syndrome (diagnosed within the last 5 years)
  • are having chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

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).

Protect yourself from COVID-19

Even if you are feeling well it is important to take extra care to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

Get vaccinated

The COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and free. Read more about COVID-19 vaccines.

Severely immunocompromised people are recommended to have a third dose of vaccine as a part of a 3-dose primary course. Third doses are not a booster dose, additional booster doses may be required for people eligible for a third dose.

How to book a vaccination

Speak with your GP or treating specialist to discuss your individual circumstances. You can book your vaccination appointment online at a GP or pharmacy using the Vaccine clinic finder.

Get tested if you have symptoms

Get tested if you have any symptoms of COVID-19.

Find out what test you can use and where to find your nearest testing provider.

If you test positive to COVID-19 follow First Steps if you have COVID-19.

If you learn you have COVID-19 using a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) at home, report your positive RAT result to Queensland Health.

Antiviral medicines for COVID-19

Antiviral medicines for COVID-19 are now available for people at high risk of developing severe illness. These medicines can reduce the need for you to go to hospital. Treatment needs to start within five days of developing symptoms or testing positive to COVID‑19. Check to see if you are eligible and find out who to talk to about your options.

Stay healthy

You should maintain healthy habits to keep your immune system as strong as possible.

Emotional stress, lack of sleep and physical exhaustion can impact your immune system further, making you more susceptible to illness.

Try to:

  • get plenty of sleep—aim for eight hours every night
  • eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruit and vegetables
  • take steps to relieve stress such as yoga, meditation or light exercise you can do at home.

Staying at home and limiting contact with other people may lead to feelings of isolation, loneliness, anxiety, or depression.

You may also feel more vulnerable and anxious about being exposed to the virus.

Find ways to boost your mental wellbeing.

Keep up your health care and medicines

Keep taking your usual dose of medications and keep going to your usual, confirmed appointment with your doctor.

If you are worried about going to see your health care provider in person, contact them to see if you are eligible for a telehealth appointment.

People with chronic health conditions may get very sick if regular health care services and appointments stop.

Putting off your health care checks can be dangerous and now is not the time to delay getting the care you need.

Hospital and health services are following the highest standard of infection control. Positive COVID-19 patients are not treated in general wards, and fever clinics are either located off-site or in isolated areas of the hospital.

If you are worried about your healthcare plan or medication, contact your doctor to discuss.

Prescriptions at home

The Australian Government provided funding for home delivery of medicines through the Home Medicines Service. The service ended on 30 June 2022.

Carers and support arrangements

Essential carers or visitors who support you with your everyday needs can continue to visit unless they have any of the symptoms of COVID-19.

Everyone coming to your home should practice good hygiene and social distancing.

Speak to your carers about back-up plans for your care in case your main carer becomes sick and has to stay at home.

Going to work

If you have a compromised immune system, it is best to stay at home as much as possible. This includes working from home when you can. If you work for an essential service, contact your employer for advice about your situation.

Going to school

Communicate with your school if you choose to keep your child at home, either due to concerns about COVID-19 or if your child is ill for any other reason. You may also wish to discuss any support you may need to assist you with your child’s learning at home.

Parents and carers of students with health support needs are encouraged to speak to their doctor when deciding if their child should go to school.

Getting support

If you need advice or help during this time, a range of support services are available for Queenslanders, including priority services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, people with disability and carers, and people requiring interpreter services.

Protecting friends and family

Staying at home if you are sick and limiting contact with people doesn’t just help protect you, it helps protect the people who are most vulnerable to getting very sick from COVID-19.

If you know someone who has a compromised immune system, they may need your support. Remember to check in on people, especially those who are living alone or may be more vulnerable to health issues. This can help them feel connected and supported.

You can help by:

  • connecting with someone via phone, email or social media
  • picking up groceries or prescriptions and drop them off at their home
  • using Queensland Health’s Kindness cards. Print them out and slip it into someone’s letterbox.

More information