Support and information for disabled people

This section has information about COVID-19 and useful services for disabled people.

Want to talk to someone?

  • The COVID-19 disability helpline can provide help or information about vaccines, face mask exemptions, testing, managing COVID-19, and any other health concerns you may have. This includes if your support worker or carer is unavailable. Call 0800 11 12 13 for free. If you are unable to call, you can text 8988.
  • If it is an emergency and you need urgent medical help or cannot breathe properly, call emergency services on 111. If you have COVID-19, tell them when you call.

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Get a COVID-19 test

When you may need a COVID-19 test

You may need a test if:

  • you have symptoms of COVID-19
  • you live with someone who has COVID-19
  • you are travelling
  • your job needs you to take tests.

If you have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms you should get a test as soon as you start to feel unwell. Doing a test and reporting the result in My Covid Record means you can get the help you need as early as possible.

You can do a rapid antigen test (RAT) at home, either by yourself or with the help of a family member or support person. 

What to do when you have COVID-19 symptoms [PDF, 312 KB]

How to get a rapid antigen test (RAT) kit

You can collect free RATs. The service is easy to use, and there are RAT collection sites all around the country. 

If needed, someone else can order and pick up a RAT kit for you.

Order over the phone: Call 0800 222 478

You can also arrange for a doctor or nurse to do a test for you at a testing centre. It is okay to bring someone with you when you get a test.

You can also get free advice from the Disability Healthline. Call 0800 28 29 26 and choose option 2.

Get tests delivered to your home

If you have mobility or other accessibility challenges and are unable to leave your home to get to a collection site, you can arrange to have a RAT kit delivered to you.

How to report your results

Report your positive or negative RAT result by phone or online. Reporting a result means you can get extra support if you need it while self-isolating.

What happens if you or your support worker gets COVID-19

If you test positive

Report your positive RAT result online or over the phone.

If you have a mobile phone, you will receive confirmation of your test results by text from the Ministry of Health, using the official 2328 or 2648 numbers.

The text includes a link to the COVID-19 Health Hub. This is a safe and data-free website with trusted, up-to-date information about what to do next, and how to monitor your symptoms.

COVID-19 Health Hub (external link)

The text also includes a link to a form with questions about your health, wellbeing, and where you are living, so that you can get extra help if you need it.

If you need help completing the form, email or call 0800 555 728.

What you need to do

We recommend you isolate for 5 days. This means you should stay at home and try to avoid contact with people you live with.

Start counting from Day 0. This is the day your symptoms started or when you tested positive (whichever came first).

Make a plan for how you will get food or medicines delivered.

For most people, COVID-19 is a mild to moderate illness. You should be able to fully recover at home.

If you still feel unwell after 5 days, you should stay at home until 24 hours after your symptoms have gone.

Advice for carers on supporting someone who has COVID-19 | (external link)

Get vaccinated

Get your booster for the best protection

A booster dose will give you greater immunity against COVID-19.

You can get a booster now if:

  • you are aged 18 or over and it has been at least 3 months since you completed your primary course
  • you are aged 16 or 17 and it has been 6 months since you completed your primary course.

If you have not been vaccinated yet, talk to your doctor or health professional for advice.

Vaccine advice if you have a health condition

If you are immunocompromised

Some people who are severely immunocompromised are eligible to get a third primary dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. This extra dose will help give you the best possible protection.

Your doctor can tell you whether you are eligible for this third primary dose. 

Vaccination for people who are severely immunocompromised | (external link)

A second booster is recommended for those at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, a minimum of 6 months after a first booster. 

Find out if you are eligible for a second booster

Book your vaccination or get advice

To book your vaccination or get advice:

Get support

Call the COVID-19 disability helpline for free on 0800 11 12 13 or text 8988. It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It can help with:

  • information about vaccines, testing, face mask exemptions, and managing COVID-19
  • support and advice for any general health concerns you may have
  • assistance if your support worker or carer is unavailable.

You can use the New Zealand Relay Service to make a call:

New Zealand Relay Services (external link)

If you need care or home support

If you test positive, let your support provider know that you have COVID-19 so they can put protective measures in place.

Your in-home care will carry on, even if you are sick with COVID-19.

Anyone who is providing care must follow appropriate infection prevention control procedures.

Infection prevention and control recommendations for health and disability care workers | Ministry of Health (external link)

If your support worker or carer is unavailable

If you need urgent support and your support worker or carer is unavailable, you can call the dedicated disability helpline on 0800 11 12 13. Or you can text them on 8988.

This could be if:

  • your support worker is unavailable and cannot provide the essential support you need
  • you are unable to reach the organisation that normally provides your care
  • there is no one available to provide the support you need.

The 0800 11 12 13 service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from 8am to 8pm. A person with experience or knowledge of disability will answer the call and assess the urgency of your situation and provide advice or assistance. After 8pm, calls will be answered by a trained member of the Healthline team.

The call centre will work with you to determine what needs to happen, how urgent your situation is and if medical or other emergency services are needed.

As always, if there is an emergency, or there is a threat to your life or property, call 111 immediately.

Financial support

If you need help with urgent costs, or have to take unpaid leave, you may be eligible for support from Work and Income:

Wearing a face mask

Face masks are a way we can protect ourselves and others from COVID-19. We encourage you to wear one whenever you can. 

In taxis or ride-shares

If you are taking a taxi or ride-share, you can ask the driver to wear a face mask. You can also put the windows down for ventilation.

Face mask exemptions

For some people, an impairment, disability, or physical or mental health condition can mean wearing a mask is not possible.

If you have a legitimate reason that means wearing a face mask is not suitable, you can apply for a Mask Exemption Pass. You can also request a card by calling 0800 11 12 13 or by texting 8988.

Apply for a Mask Exemption Pass

Traffic lights end

The COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic lights) ended on 12 September. With case numbers low, it is safe to remove most COVID-19 rules. The information on this page has been updated.

About the changes

Last updated: at