Australian Health Protection Principal Committee statement on recommendations for managing Covid health risks

Department of Health

AHPPC statement

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), on the advice of the Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA), has revised the previous AHPPC statement on 6 July 2020 on managing health risks as COVID-19 measures lift.

AHPPC is pleased to note the increasing uptake of COVID-19 vaccination across Australia. Data from clinical trials and real-world evidence demonstrates that COVID-19 vaccines available in Australia are very effective against hospitalisation and death from COVID-19.

Even where there is community transmission of COVID-19, increased vaccination coverage in Australia will allow people, including those at higher risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19, to continue attending work and other settings with appropriate precautions in place where public health restrictions allow.

Australians should:

  • monitor current public health advice
  • get vaccinated
  • continue physical distancing
  • wear a mask as directed by local public health authorities
  • use hand and respiratory hygiene and
  • stay home and get tested when acutely unwell.

Individual risk factors

Anyone who gets COVID-19 can develop severe disease. However, the likelihood of getting severe COVID-19 illness increases with older age and the presence of certain health conditions. This risk can be reduced by getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

Age is by far the strongest risk factor associated with disease and death. Risk increases as people age. There is a very substantial increase in risk of severe COVID-19 illness in unvaccinated people over 70.

Some medical conditions may also increase risk. People at high risk of severe COVID-19 illness include those who are unvaccinated and who:

  • have had an organ transplant and are on immune suppressive therapy
  • have had a bone marrow transplant in the last 24 months or are on immune suppressive therapy for graft versus host disease
  • have a haematologic (blood) cancer e.g. leukaemia, lymphoma or myelodysplastic syndrome
  • have non-haematological cancer diagnosed within the past 5 years or on chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy or targeted anti-cancer therapy.

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