Ensuring the Well-being of Seniors During the Holiday Season

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Ensuring the Well-being of Seniors During the Holiday Season

The holiday season, encompassing Christmas, summer, and festive celebrations, is a period when people come together with family and friends. Familiarise yourself with fundamental precautions to safeguard yourself, your family, and your friends against COVID-19.

Elderly individuals remain at the highest risk for severe COVID-19 disease. If you plan to spend time with an older person during the festive season, adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. Wash your hands regularly.
  2. Practice physical distancing.
  3. Stay at home if you’re unwell.
  4. Ensure you have received your recommended vaccine doses.
  5. Wear a mask in crowded spaces.

For visits to aged care homes, additional precautions may be necessary:

  1. Test before your visit.
  2. Wear a mask.
  3. Opt for an outdoor space for your time together.

Regarding COVID-19 vaccination doses:

  • Individuals aged 75 years or older are advised to receive an additional COVID-19 vaccine if six months have passed since their last dose or confirmed infection.
  • Those aged 65 to 74 and individuals aged 18 to 64 with severe immunocompromised should consider an additional dose after consulting with their healthcare provider.
  • If unsure about a previous COVID-19 infection within the last 6 months, it is safe to get another dose.
  • Everyone aged 65 and older is recommended to receive a COVID-19 booster this year.

To locate a COVID-19 vaccine clinic:

  1. Consult your doctor or pharmacist.
  2. Book an appointment on the health service finder.
  3. Call the health-direct helpline at 1800 022 222 for COVID-19 advice.

While all COVID-19 vaccines are expected to provide benefits, the monovalent Omicron XBB.1.5 vaccines are preferred for eligible individuals.

Concerning oral antiviral treatments:

  • Oral antiviral treatments are safe and effective in reducing COVID-19 severity.
  • These treatments are accessible to those at high risk, including individuals aged 70 and older.
  • Individuals aged 70 and above are encouraged to discuss with their GP or nurse practitioner:
    • Whether oral antivirals suit their health needs.
    • Development of a COVID-19 plan in case of a positive test, including quick access to antivirals.
  • Treatment must commence as soon as possible or within 5 days of COVID-19 symptoms onset.