COVID-19 is a disease caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Coronaviruses can cause a range of illnesses, from mild respiratory infections to more serious disease affecting multiple organs and systems. SARS-CoV-2 is a highly contagious strain of coronavirus discovered in 2019. It is a strain that had not been previously detected in humans that spread rapidly, resulting in a global pandemic.   

COVID-19 disease can be asymptomatic, cause mild to moderate symptoms or can progress to severe illness in over 10% of people, requiring hospitalisation and mechanical ventilation, or even death. Even when infections are asymptomatic; individuals can still transmit disease to other people.   

Tens of millions of people have been infected with COVID-19 globally and millions have died. The virus has had vast impacts on society, not only from a public health perspective, but the economic, social and mental health effects have been and continue to be, enormous.  

Vaccination against COVID-19 disease aims to reduce the severity of symptoms and need for hospitalisations. Recommendations are based on an individual’s level of risk of severe disease.  

Our new COVID-19 reference page brings together information from across our website on COVID-19 disease, vaccine recommendations and vaccine side effects.  

To view the page in full, refer to the link below: