Important coronavirus (COVID-19) update for our stroke community
Update 12 April 2021: Vaccine information for the stroke community
As the Australian Government rolls out its coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine program, the Stroke Foundation has answered some questions you might have. This includes advice about the risk of rare blood clots after the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, as well as:
- Why should I get vaccinated?
- Is the vaccine safe for people who have had a stroke?
- Are there things I need to tell my health professional before having the vaccine?
- What if I am on blood thinners?
- Are there any side effects?
- When can I get vaccinated?
This information is general in nature, guided by the Stroke Foundation Clinical Council. If you are considering getting vaccinated or have concerns, please talk to your doctor.
What you need to know about coronavirus
People who have had a stroke should be aware that, just like with the flu, they are at a higher risk of severe symptoms and complications from COVID-19.
Australia has been successful in 'flattening the curve'. Governments are now beginning to take careful steps to ease some of the restrictions that have helped suppress the spread of this virus. However, it remains recommended to practise good hygiene at all times and maintain physical distancing. This means:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This includes before and after eating and after going to the toilet.
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitisers when you can’t use soap and water.
- Cover your cough and sneeze, dispose of tissues, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser straight after disposing of the tissue.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces you use often such as benchtops, desks and doorknobs.
- Clean and disinfect objects you use often such as mobile phones, keys, wallets and work passes.
- Use tap and go instead of cash where possible.
- Increase the amount of fresh air by opening windows or changing air conditioning.
- Practice social distancing - avoid contact with others (stay more than 1.5 metres from people).
- Wear a face mask – Where restrictions are in place and social distancing may not be possible, wear a mask. See links below to relevant restrictions in your state.
Help slow the spread
Australian and state governments have put restrictions and advisories in place. These vary from state to state. For advice in your state or territory:
- Australian Capital Territory COVID-19 site
- New South Wales COVID-19 site
- Northern Territory COVID-19 site
- Queensland COVID-19 site
- South Australia COVID-19 site
- Tasmania COVID-19 site
- Victoria COVID-19 site
- Western Australia COVID-19 site
The Australian Government has recommended people consider downloading the COVIDSafe app, which works alongside physical distancing, good hygiene and enhanced testing to stop the spread of coronavirus.
If you have COVID-19, you must stay at home. You might also have to be in quarantine at home for 14 days even if you don’t have COVID-19 – if you have moved from one state or territory to another, have returned from overseas or have been in contact with a person with COVID-19.
Who is most at risk of a serious illness?
Some people who are infected may not get sick at all, some will get mild symptoms from which they will recover easily, and others may become very ill, very quickly.
Government has provided more information and advice to people who may be more vulnerable to COVID-19. These are:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and remote communities.
- Older people.
- People in aged care facilities.
- People with chronic conditions or weakened immune systems (eg. Stroke, heart disease, cancer, etc).
- People with disability.
Make sure you continue to take your prescribed medications and go to any usual or scheduled healthcare appointments. For more information visit:
What should you do if you feel unwell?
The Australian Government Department of Health provides the following advice:
“If you are sick and think you have symptoms of COVID-19, seek medical advice and get tested. If you want to talk to someone about your symptoms, call the National Coronavirus Helpline for advice [1800 020 080 – the line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week].
“To seek medical help from a doctor or hospital, call ahead of time to book an appointment.
“You will be asked to take precautions when you attend for treatment. Follow the instructions you are given. If you have a mask, wear it to protect others. Stay at least 1.5 metres away from other people. Cover your coughs or sneezes with your elbow.”
People with coronavirus may experience:
- Sore throat.
- Shortness of breath.
Want more information?
It is important to we all have the correct and up-to-date medical advice and reports.
The World Health Organisation and Australian Government are updating the links below daily. We suggest, monitoring their recommendations and act accordingly.
If you have questions about coronavirus, please call the Australian Government’s Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. The helpline operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
There is a large amount of unverified information circulating on social media. It is important that you seek information on coronavirus from trusted sources.
Visit the Australian Government’s Coronavirus Information Page listed above. This page is regularly updated with the latest information.
Information for people with disability and their supporters
People with disability can now contact the Disability Gateway for information and referrals about coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Disability Gateway can help families, carers and support workers, too. The Disability Gateway is free, private and fact-checked.
If you are worried or concerned about COVID-19, you can contact the Disability Gateway in the following ways:
- Phone (free call): 1800 643 787
- If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment, you can also call the National Relay Service on 133 677
- If you require support in another language, you can use the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) free of charge by:
- calling the Disability Gateway on 1800 643 787 and asking for an interpreter, or
- calling TIS on 131 450 and ask to be connected to the Disability Information Helpline on 1800 643 787.
The Disability Gateway is available Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm (AEDT). It is not available on national public holidays. Find out more at the Department of Social Services.
Information in other languages
The following fact sheets for non-English speakers explain how to combat the virus and manage health and wellbeing. They were prepared for NSW Health by Maridulu Budyari Gumal, Sydney Partnership for Health, Education, Research and Enterprise (SPHERE).
Stroke and COVID-19: