Everything you might want to know about COVID and hep C

We’ve been asked a lot of questions about how COVID might affect people with hepatitis C (hep C). See below for our answers.
Page updated: April 2022

COVID 19

Hep C and COVID vaccines

Hep C and COVID

Hep C  treatment and COVID

Liver health and COVID

COVID and illness

Keep up-to-date on COVID CLICK HERE >>> 

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Hep C and COVID vaccines

 

I have/had hep C, should I be concerned about getting the COVID vaccines?

No. There is no reason to be concerned about getting the COVID vaccines. There is no evidence to suggest that the COVID vaccines have any negative impact on a person who has hep C, or who had hep C.

 

I am on hep C treatment, should I be concerned about getting the COVID vaccines?

No. There is no reason to be concerned about the COVID vaccines if you’re on hep C treatment. You should definitely keep taking treatment to have the best chance of being cured.

 

I have cirrhosis of the liver, should I still get the COVID vaccines?

Yes. The COVID vaccines are safe and recommended for people with cirrhosis. Getting vaccinated for COVID may be especially important for people with cirrhosis of the liver who are at increased risk of serious illness should they get COVID.

 

I’ve had a liver transplant, should I still get the COVID vaccines?

Yes. People who have had a liver transplant and are on anti-rejection drugs can, and should, still get vaccinated for COVID. People who have had a liver transplant are more likely to get very sick if they get COVID. The vaccines are safe and effective.

 

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Hep C and COVID

 

I have hep C, am I at higher risk of catching COVID?

No. There is no evidence that people living with hep C are at higher risk of catching COVID.

Follow Government advice on keeping safe and stopping the spread of COVID CLICK HERE >>>

 

I have hep C, am I at higher risk of severe illness from COVID?

No. There is no evidence that having hep C makes you higher risk for severe illness from COVID.

 

I have hep C, do I need extra protection against COVID?

No. You can protect yourself against COVID in the same ways as everyone else. We all need be careful to stop the spread of COVID, for our own health and for the health of our communities.

You should take extra care to protect yourself from COVID if you:
– have an additional health condition (see a full list here >>>);
– are over 70;
– are over 50 and Aboriginal;
– have a weakened immune system.

Follow Government advice on keeping safe and stopping the spread of COVID CLICK HERE >>>

 

I am cured of hep C, am I still at risk with COVID?

No. There is no evidence that people cured of hep C are at higher risk of catching COVID or being severely ill if they do get it.

You might be at higher risk if you also have a chronic health condition, are over 70, or have a weakened immune system (see list below CLICK HERE >>>).

 

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Hep C  treatment and COVID

 

I’ve been talking to my doctor about hep C treatment, should I wait until this is over to start?

The best time to start hep C treatment is up to you. If you are worried about hep C treatment and COVID, talk to your doctor. Starting treatment now means you can be cured and live free of hep C. It also can lower any risk of serious liver damage.

If you’d like to start treatment and don’t know where to start, get in touch with us at Hepatitis NSW.

 

Should I keep taking my hep C treatment during this time?

Yes. Definitely keep taking your hep C treatment. Only stop taking your treatment if told to by your doctor or specialist.

If you stop taking your treatment, the hep C virus will most likely come back and you won’t be cured.

 

I’m on hep C treatment, will this make me more at risk with COVID? Is my immune system weakened by the treatment?

No. There is no evidence that hep C treatments affect your immune system or makes you more at risk of catching COVID.

Hep C medications directly attack the hep C virus; they do not have any impact on your immune system.

 

Does my hep C treatment give me protection against COVID?

No.There is no evidence to suggest hep C treatments have an effect against COVID.

 

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Liver health and COVID

 

I I have liver disease or cirrhosis of the liver, will this make me more at risk with COVID?

If you have cirrhosis of the liver there is no evidence that you have a higher chance of catching COVID.

Having cirrhosis of the liver can increase the risk of severe illness if you have COVID.

If you have elevated liver enzymes or abnormal liver function test (LFT) as a result of liver disease, you may also be at risk of severe illness if you have COVID.

For these reasons, it’s best to take all necessary precautions to keep yourself safe from COVID by following government and medical recommendations.

Everyone with cirrhosis should see their liver specialist regularly. Call and speak to your specialist about what is best for your health.

 

I had a liver transplant. Should I be worried about COVID?

If you have had a liver transplant you will be on immunosuppressive medication. There is currently no evidence that being on this medication increases the risk of severe COVID infection. However long-term transplant patients are at risk of the health conditions that are known to increase the risk of severe COVID. For this reason, it is important to stay up to date with all COVID vaccinations and boosters as recommended by the Department of Health.

Give your specialist a call and discuss your health with them. They’ll be able to advise what steps to take and what is best for your health at this time. If you are diagnosed with COVID, you should let your liver transplant team know as antiviral medications are recommended for some people.

 

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COVID and illness

 

Is the COVID virus like the hep C virus?

No. We know that COVID is very different to the hep C virus. COVID affects breathing (the respiratory system); hep C affects and infects the liver.

 

I have a runny nose, sore throat, fever, or headache. Do I have COVID?

If you are worried that you might have COVID, take a PCR or Rapid Antigen Test (RAT).  For more info CLICK HERE >>> or call the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080.

If you feel really unwell, call 000 and seek urgent medical care.

 

What health conditions make you most at risk of severe illness with COVID?

Health conditions that might contribute to a higher possible severity include:

  • coronary heart disease,
  • hypertension (high blood pressure),
  • diabetes,
  • obesity,
  • cancer, and
  • chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema.

Older people, particularly those over the age of 70, are also especially at risk of severe illness and death from COVID.

Aboriginal people, particularly those over the age of 50, could also be at greater risk of severe illness because of generally higher rates of chronic illness (see Close The Gap).

Not having any additional health conditions, or being a young person, does not mean that severe COVID illness is not possible.

Click here for a full list of conditions that can make you most at risk for severe COVID illness >>

 

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Other links

 

FOR ABORIGINAL & TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLE

 

 

FOR PEOPLE WHO INJECT DRUGS / ON PHARMACOTHERAPY (‘done, bupe)

 

GENERAL

 

ASSESSMENT CLINICS

  • NSW Local Health District COVID Assessment Clinics CLICK HERE >>>
  • National Coronavirus Health Information Line: 1800 020 080 (general advice)
  • Health Direct: 1800 022 222 (showing symptoms)
  • Translating or interpreting services: 131 450

 

FLU VACCINATION

  • NSW Health: Why getting a flu vaccination now will help in the fight against COVID CLICK HERE >>>

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This page last updated April 2022

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