In this section
The Department of Health has advised that children from the age of 12+ years are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine
To book in for your/your child's vaccination:
For children aged 5 to 11 years of age:
Further information about vaccines
for COVID-19 can be found at COVID-19
vaccines | Coronavirus Victoria
We also recommend your child and whole family to also have the 2021 influenza vaccination. See below under 'What else can I do to help reduce the potential health impacts of COVID-19?' for further information.
The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) COVID-19 website provides paediatric specific information and advice around visiting the hospital. It includes a RCH video
which gives a practical overview of how to reduce risk of infection.
DHHS webpage provides up-to-date overview of the current situation and steps to take if you or your family are exposed to the virus.
For information about minimalizing infection risk, and guidance on how to talk to children about the virus, please see
'Coronavirus and children in Australia', published by The Raising Children Network.
For further information, scroll down below to FAQ question: ‘What can I do to manage my child’s worry and anxiety?’
If you’re concerned your child might be experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please visit
www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus or call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398 for advice.
For families known to the department, see ‘Lines of communication with the respiratory department’ for additional contact methods.
From what we have learned so far about COVID-19 we know that most children with this infection have milder symptoms than adults even with the emergence of the new SARS-COV2 strains. This also appears to be the case for children with CF/PCD/bronchiectasis/chronic lung disease.
When reviewing statistics from the US and UK, people with CF are not at increased risk of severe infection or death from COVID-19 compared to peers without CF.
At this stage we advise that you follow government recommendations which includes social distancing and getting a COVID vaccine if eligible. Advice from the government is based on several factors including the number of cases in the community.
Updates regarding this advice will appear on the
You can protect your family by:
Getting a COVID vaccine if eligible
Following good infection control practices regularly as follows:
Practice good cough etiquette by:
Abide by social distancing:
You can encourage other people around you to do the same.
The global pandemic has indeed placed us in
challenging times. The prospect of kids returning to on-site learning raises
questions and concerns for every parent, particularly those of children with
underlying health conditions such as lung diseases. The following advice
applies to the majority of children under our care and has been formulated
after careful consideration by respiratory specialists within the Department
of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine.
We recommend that children return to school
when schools reopen for these reasons:
What can you do?
A number of shared spaces including schools plan to use HEPA purifiers as a way to reduce the transmission risk of COVID-19. But what are they?
HEPA (high efficiency particulate
air) purifiers contain filters that are made of a dense net of
fibres. These purifiers force forcing air through the mesh-like filters which
then capture participles including pollen, smoke, dust, moisture, bacteria and
viruses. This is different to a water-based purifier that uses a
water reservoir as its filter
Use for COVID-19 transmission and
Most people catch COVID-19 by inhaling it
from shared air, and COVID particles can linger in the air in indoor spaces.
HEPA purifiers can clear these potentially infectious aerosols. They have also
been used in bushfire settings when windows are encouraged to remain closed. In
these enclosed room settings, HEPA purifiers can work to capture the
particulate matter released during bush fires.
HEPA purifiers are therefore being
implemented in shared spaces including schools. This is seen as an additional
measure in reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission until effective vaccine
rates in the community are achieved.
Some families have enquired about purchasing
HEPA purifiers to use at home. At this stage we are not actively encouraging
this. As a HEPA purifier is only effective in the room it is placed, there are
limitations with how effective it is at home in mediating viral transmission.
We do understand that mask wearing and social distancing is not practical at
home. Instead, we encourage limiting spread within the home by having those
eligible be vaccinated, getting tested if displaying symptoms and remaining
vigilant with visitors to the home.
Is it safe?
When used correctly, HEPA filters are safe. As
long as the filters are changed according to standard, there is minimal
concern of HEPA filters recirculating caught particles or becoming a source for
infection including pseudomonas. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there
have been reports of users making homemade masks using HEPA filters intended
for air purifiers. This is not recommended and can be unsafe.
We understand that SARS-COV2 is spread through aerosolised particles. Masks can help reduce this spread but not completely fool-proof. As such, wearing masks should be in addition to other measures including getting vaccinated if eligible, social distancing and hand hygiene.
As per DHHS recommendations, adults and children over the age of 12 must wear a face mask outside your home.
We recommend you reading the DHHS site on face masks available through this
link. It covers a range of questions including information on the types of masks to use and how to wear and care for your mask. Infants and children under the age of 12 are not required to wear a face covering. Due to the risk of choking it is not safe to use a mask on children under two years of age.
It remains our belief that the potential benefit of widespread use of masks is to reduce the risk of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic adults spreading the virus rather than just protecting an individual from contracting the virus. Even before COVID-19, some respiratory patients such as our CF population routinely wore masks around the hospital to reduce the risk of cross-infection from CF germs.
Currently, outpatient appointments are predominantly being run via through telehealth appointments. Appointments will only be converted to face to face at the discretion of the clinician if clinically indicated. This is to minimalise the number of people attending the hospital, and protecting both staff and patients against contracting COVID-19.
Our outpatient department is very experienced in working to prevent the spread of infection. Some additional measures taken include:
For the latest information on how to attend the RCH hospital site and telehealth appointments please see https://www.rch.org.au/rch/Coronavirus_(COVID-19)/
Many of our patients with chronic respiratory conditions use nebulisers as a method of administering their treatment. Some concern was raised following an outbreak of COVID within hotel quarantine which was linked to a guest who tested positive for coronavirus and was using a nebuliser.
We want to clarify the following:
We highly recommend you have the 2021 influenza vaccine. We recommend all members of the family get vaccinated. Given the altered pattern in virus spread, we recommend getting vaccinated even beyond the Winter period
Immunizations can be coordinated through the RCH immunisation centre:
Alternatively, you can attend your local GP practice or pharmacy to organise vaccinations for other family members.
For a list of those who are eligible for free influenza vaccine, visit the
We highly recommend your child avoid being around people who smoke.
If you smoke, it is highly recommended you take measures to quit. People who smoke are five times more likely to get the flu and twice as likely to get pneumonia.
Reducing or stopping tobacco smoke exposure is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from viral infections including coronavirus.