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aka Coronavirus, SARS CoV-2, Covid 19

Last Updated 04.10.2021

Some Things You Should Know: 
for People Who Use Drugs


First Things First- 
What Is A Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans.

In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

The most recently discovered coronavirus causes SARS CoV-2 or as we know it-

COVID-19 (The one we are dealing with now around the world.)


This new corona virus (COVID-19) and it's variants were unknown before the outbreak was announced in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.

What Are The Symptoms?


COVID-19 affects different people in different ways.

Most infected people will develop mild to moderate illness and recover without hospitalisation.


The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough.

Less common symptoms are aches and pains, sore throat, conjunctivitis, headaches, loss of taste or smell, diarrhoea and a rash on skin or discolouration of fingers or toes.

These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually.

Serious symptoms include difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure and loss of speech or movement. 

Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell.

Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment.

Seek immediate medical attention if you have serious symptoms. Always call before visiting your doctor or health facility.

People with mild symptoms who are otherwise healthy should manage their symptoms at home.

On average it takes 5–6 days from when someone is infected with the virus for symptoms to show, however it can take up to 14 days.

Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, and immune deficiency issues are more likely to develop serious illness.

How Does It Spread?


Current evidence suggests that the virus spreads mainly between people who are in close contact with each other, typically within 1 metre (short-range).


A person can be infected when aerosols or droplets containing the virus are inhaled or come directly into contact with the eyes, nose, or mouth.

The virus can also spread in poorly ventilated and/or crowded indoor settings, where people tend to spend longer periods of time.

This is because aerosols remain suspended in the air or travel further than 1 metre (long-range).

People may also become infected by touching surfaces that have been contaminated by the virus when touching their eyes, nose or mouth without cleaning their hands.

Further research is ongoing to better understand the spread of the virus and which settings are most risky and why. Research is also under way to study virus variants that are emerging and why some are more transmissible. 

Infected people can be contagious and the virus can spread from them to other people, whether they have symptoms or not.

Laboratory data suggests that infected people appear to be most infectious just before they develop symptoms (namely 2 days before they develop symptoms) and early in their illness. People who develop severe disease can be infectious for longer.

While someone who never develops symptoms can pass the virus to others, it is still not clear how frequently this occurs and more research is needed in this area.

**Research is ongoing and HRVic will update this information as new discoveries are made.

Which COVID-19 vaccines are available in Australia?

Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has provisionally approved vaccines for COVID-19:

  • Comirnaty, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, provisionally approved for people aged 12 years and older

  • Vaxzevria, the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine, provisionally approved for people aged 18 years and older

  • Janssen, the Janssen-Cilag Pty Ltd vaccine, known as Johnson & Johnson, provisionally approved for people aged 18 years and older — this vaccine is not included in Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination program

  • Spikevax, the Moderna Australia vaccine, for people aged 12 years and older

“Do you want a vax?”

Here’s what Professor Margaret Hellard has to say about it. Margaret is known and loved and trusted by many in our community and has treated many of us

for hep C and HIV over the years.





What Vaccines are what?

What's the difference?  Find Out HERE.

What if I can't afford the covid vaccine?

You do not need a money to get a COVID-19 vaccine. It is FREE.

What if I don’t have a Medicare card?

You do not need a Medicare card at Commonwealth State clinics to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Check with the clinic you have booked at

I have a medical condition.

Can I get an exemption?

You may be exempt if you are unable to be vaccinated because you have a medical contraindication as determined by ATAGI  clinical  guidance.

You will need evidence from a medical practitioner about this – such as a medical certificate or a letter.

Do I have to wear a mask and if so, when do I have to wear it?

Anyone 12 years and over must wear a fitted face mask whenever they leave their home, indoors or outdoors, unless lawful exception applies


The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services has developed a series of badges for people who are unable to wear a face covering for a valid reason.

The badges can be downloaded onto smartphones or printed to keep in a wallet or lanyard holder.

Smartphone badges

For people who are deaf or hard of hearing and need the person they are communicating with to remove their face mask:

Print-ready badges

(Lockdown #2 Victoria)


 SEPT 27th 2020 UPDATE
(Lockdown #2 Victoria)


& Drug Use
Resource #1

HRVic_COVID19_2PLAN_ver2 .jpg

& Planning For  the Substance Dependent
Resource #2


& Pharmacotherapy
Resource #3


(Resource #4
Lockdown #2 Victoria)

Some MORE Helpful Tips for People on Pharmacotherapy -

Methadone and Buprenorphine (Suboxone and Subutex):

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