Jump to a section: Our Services | Our work | Current health advice and restrictions | COVID-19 vaccines | Contact tracing and QR codes | Financial support | Useful contacts – COVID-19 | Mental health support | Elder abuse support
Last update: 12 August 2021
Our Information Line is available to older Victorians from 9.30 am to 4 pm weekdays. You can call the information line on 1300 135 090 or email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are not sure whether one of our events or programs is running, please contact our Information Line for advice.
Our staff continue to meet regularly to assess whether the information and services being made available in response to the pandemic are meeting the needs of older people. To read more about our work in 2020 please consider page 5 of last year’s Annual Report, and know we are still advocating on your behalf.
In 2020, we worked with the City of Whittlesea to conduct a survey of older people to inform our work around COVID-19. The survey aimed to describe what older Victorians were saying they needed to support them during the pandemic. The survey is now closed, but you can access the full report at COTA Coronavirus survey.
We used data from this survey to inform our submission to the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee’s Inquiry into the Victorian Government’s response to COVID-19. You can access the final submission at COTA submission on COVID-19.
Current health advice and restrictions
The Coronavirus Victoria website is the most up-to-date source of information about restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. You can also access information about current restrictions by calling the coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398.
Make sure you keep up-to-date with the list of COVID-19 case locations and outbreaks to ensure you have not been exposed to the virus.
If you think you may have been exposed to the virus or have symptoms, you should get tested immediately and quarantine at home until you have received a negative result. The Victorian Government has created an online self-assessment tool for people who think they may have COVID-19. You can find a list of testing locations on the Department of Health and Human Services website. If you have an injury, chronic health issue or frailty that affects your mobility, you may be eligible to have a COVID-19 test done at home through the Victorian Government’s Call-to-Test Service.
Make sure you do your part to limit the spread of COVID-19 by washing your hands regularly and practising good hygiene.
There are separate rules in place for people visiting residential aged care facilities. If you are experiencing difficulty visiting someone in aged care, you can call Elder Rights Advocacy on 1800 700 600.
Am I eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19?
All Victorians over the age of 40 are eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Which vaccine will I receive?
If you are over 60, you are eligible to access the AstraZeneca vaccine. If you are under 60, you can still access the AstraZeneca vaccine:
- following an appropriate assessment of suitability by a qualified health professional, and
- if you provide verbal or written consent
If you are under 60, you are eligible to access the Pfizer vaccine. People of any age who are vulnerable and at high risk from COVID-19 are also eligible to access the Pfizer vaccine.
We recommend you speak to your doctor for advice before getting vaccinated – particularly if you have a chronic health condition. If you have any outstanding questions about the vaccine, you can call the National coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccine helpline on 1800 020 080.
Where can I get vaccinated?
You can get vaccinated at:
- A vaccination centre
- A participating general practice (if you are over 60)
- An Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation
- A community Health Centre
If you receive a Centrelink benefit (except the Family Tax Benefit), you can access funded taxi travel to help you get to a vaccination centre. This service is available for first and second dose appointments. You can access the service by calling 1800 675 398.
Please note: If you are over 70 and/or have a pre-existing medical condition, it is recommended that you get vaccinated through your usual doctor.
How much will it cost to get vaccinated?
COVID-19 vaccinations are free. Vaccination providers cannot charge you for the vaccine. They can’t charge you for the appointments you make to receive the vaccine either.
If your vaccination provider charges for any costs associated with the administration of the COVID-19 vaccination, you should call the Provider Benefits Integrity Hotline on 1800 314 808 or email email@example.com.
Contact tracing and QR codes
As you move about in the community you will notice that a wide range of public venues including cafes, restaurants and supermarkets will now ask you to ‘sign in’ using a QR code. This involves providing the venue with your name and contact details before you enter. Businesses now have the right to deny you access to their venue if you do not check in.
Why do I need to provide my personal information?
When someone tests positive for COVID-19, the Victorian Government will gather information about any public venues they may have visited while infectious with the virus as part of the contact tracing process.
Providing your name and contact details when you sign into a venue makes it possible for the Victorian Government to:
- Know whether you might have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19.
- Contact you if they think you might have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus.
What is a QR code, and how does it work?
The letters “QR” stand for “quick response”.
A QR code is just like a barcode, but it contains information that can be read using the camera on a smartphone or tablet.
If a venue uses a QR code system, scanning the code using your smartphone or tablet will take you to an electronic form to enter your personal information.
How do I scan a QR code using my smartphone or tablet?
In most cases, it’s as simple as opening the camera app on your device and pointing it at the QR code.
For instructions on how to scan a QR code using an Apple device, click use QR code on Apple device.
For instructions on how to scan a QR code using an Android device, click use QR code on Android device.
What if I don’t own a smartphone or tablet?
Businesses are required to provide assistance to customers who cannot check in using a QR code. This might involve them using their own device to check you in or providing you with an alternative record keeping method (such as pen and paper).
If you feel anxious about visiting a venue because you don’t have a smartphone or tablet, you might like to phone them ahead of time to let them know that you will need assistance. This way you’ll have a better idea of what to expect when you arrive.
If you are ever refused access to a venue because you can’t sign in using a QR code and there is no alternative offered, please contact us. However, we stress that this is unlikely. This is new to all of us, so don’t be afraid to ask for assistance.
If your job, business or income has been affected by the pandemic, there are a range of ways the Victorian Government can help. Go to financial support for business and workers.
If you require personal financial assistance, you might like to contact the National Debt Helpline. The helpline provides free and confidential advice from professional financial counsellors. You can contact the helpline on 1800 007 007, Monday to Friday, 9.30 am – 4.30 pm.
Useful contacts – COVID-19
- Coronavirus Hotline
Phone 1800 675 398, 24 hours.
If you think you may have COVID-19, you can call the hotline for information. Call 000 in a medical emergency.
- National COVID Older Persons Information Line
Phone 1800 171 866
Personal support, questions and guideline information specifically for older people and their carers. It’s operated by Council on the Ageing (COTA) Australia, National Seniors Australia, Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) and Dementia Australia.
- Multilingual Older Persons COVID-19 Support Line
The support lines can be contacted Monday to Friday between 2 pm and 5 pm AEST, except on public holidays: Italian (1800 549 844), Greek (1800 549 845), Vietnamese (1800 549 846), Mandarin (1800 549 847), Cantonese (1800 549 848), Arabic (1800 549 849).
- National Dementia Helpline
Phone 1800 100 509, Monday to Friday, from 9 am – 5 pm.
The national helpline provides information and advice about Dementia and COVID-19.
Mental health support
Phone 13 11 14, 24 hours
Lifeline provides 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.
- Older Australian’s COVID-19 Support Line
Phone 1800 171 866, Monday – Friday 8.30 am – 6 pm
Offers support to older people who feel lonely or distressed, troubled, or confused, or need to talk to someone about their concerns caring for an older person during COVID-19.
- Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service
Phone 1800 512 348, 24 hours
Operated by Beyond Blue, it offers phone counselling from trained mental health professionals. It can also assist with referrals to other services such as services that offer financial support.
- Red Cross COVID Connect
Register onlineor phone Red Cross on 1800 733 276
A nationwide telephone outreach service for people who are feeling lonely or isolated during COVID-19. It connects trained Red Cross volunteers with people who want a friendly chat, with options for daily or weekly calls.
- Carers Australia
Phone 1800 242 636Monday to Friday, 8.30 am – 4.30 pm.
Carers Australia Provides Short-term counselling psychological support services for carers and their families.
Elder abuse support
- Seniors Rights Victoria
Phone 1300 368 821, Monday – Friday 10 am – 5 pm.
A free, confidential helpline to assist people experiencing or know someone who is experiencing elder abuse.