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Coronavirus

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How do I find out more about COVID-19?

Who to contact?

If you suspect you have COVID-19 call 1800 675 398.
For information on COVID-19 see the updates and links below.
For liver-related support call LiverLine on 1800 703 003 or talk to us on live webchat. Please note this information is not intended to replace medical advice.

COVID-19 Vaccine and liver health: what we know so far

The COVID-19 vaccine is currently being rolled out in Australia. Those of you living with liver disease or viral hepatitis may be wondering whether there is specific information you need to be aware of, or if the vaccine is safe for you.

This is what we know so far and as more information becomes available we will keep you updated.
Gastroenterologists have stated that the vaccine is safe for people living with liver disease. People with advanced liver disease, auto-immune hepatitis or those post liver transplant, should talk to their doctor about their individual circumstances. People living with chronic and underlying health conditions are at higher risk of severe consequences of COVID-19, therefore it is highly recommended to get vaccinated and be protected.

Updates on COVID-19 vaccinations from the Gastroenterological Society of Australia (GESA)

Adults with an underlying medical condition or disability will access the vaccination earlier than the general population. Speak with your Medical Practitioner or Specialist to determine when you will be able to access vaccination, taking into consideration your medical condition(s). Information which may influence how quickly you can get the vaccination can be accessed by your health care provider through My Health Record or Medicare Benefits Scheme.

More information about the COVID-19 vaccine can be found here.

Related links

Liver Health and COVID-19 FAQs

Will coronavirus (COVID-19) mean any change to treatment and care for hepatitis b or hepatitis c?

If you are currently taking medication due to your hepatitis B or C condition, you should not stop the medication, unless your doctor has advised you to.

Currently prescriptions are restricted to a one month supply only. Therefore, it is important that you plan on getting your medication on time.

It is important that you check in with your healthcare provider about arrangements for your upcoming appointments and liver check ups. Some healthcare facilities are establishing tele-health consultations. Remember to continue with your 6 monthly liver check ups and schedule them in advance with your healthcare provider.

What can you do to protect yourself from coronavirus (COVID-19) if you have hepatitis b or hepatitis c?

Ensure that you are following the same practices that have been advised for the general population to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

These include:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Do not touch your nose, eyes, and mouth if you have not washed your hands.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Check the label to confirm the amount of alcohol.

If you have been in contact with someone who has recently returned from overseas or think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, then you should contact your doctor. It is important that you phone the clinic before attending and they will advise you what you should do.

What are the risks of coronavirus (COVID-19) for people living with hepatitis b or hepatitis c?

Currently, there is no evidence that indicates people who are healthy and living with hepatitis B or C are at a higher risk of being infected by COVID-19.
However, if you are living with hepatitis B or C and have any other conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes or advanced liver disease (cirrhosis) then you are at an increased risk of developing serious illness if you get COVID-19.

Higher risks groups:

  • Elderly people (over the age of 70)
  • People with a weak immune system
  • People from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural background
  • People with chronic medical conditions

Should I take the flu vaccine if I have hepatitis b or c?

The flu vaccine is recommended for anyone that would like to protect themselves from influenza. It is highly recommended to be taken by people who have medical conditions as it can reduce their risk of developing serious illness.
The flu vaccine is funded for people with chronic liver disease.
Please speak with your doctor about the flu vaccine and you can phone your healthcare service to find out about the vaccination availability before going.

Is the hepatitis b vaccination available?

Yes, the hepatitis B vaccination is available, please speak to your doctor at your next appointment about the hepatitis B vaccine. It is advisable to phone your healthcare service and inquire about the availability of the hepatitis B vaccine and scheduling an appointment before going to the healthcare facility.

LiverWELL, incorporating Hepatitis Victoria, champions the interests of people affected by or at risk of viral hepatitis and liver disease.

LiverWELL acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community.

We welcome people from all cultures, nationalities and religions. Being inclusive and providing equitable services is our commitment.