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04th Jan 2022

Symptomatic under-40s can now order free Covid antigen tests

Hugh Carr

free covid antigen tests

The HSE can send out 350,000 tests a week.

People aged under 40 with Covid symptoms can now order free antigen tests via an online portal.

The news comes as the HSE plan on including positive antigen test results in daily case figures.

The antigens can be ordered through the HSE website.

The HSE is advising that the public should only book one test kit per person, and that you must be over 16 to order one for yourself.

Should a test come back positive, the public is advised to book a PCR test to confirm the antigen test.

Those aged 40 and over are not eligible for free antigens, and are being asked to book PCR tests instead if they have symptoms.

Those who receive messages from the HSE to tell them they are close contacts are being asked not to book antigens through the portal, but to use the link sent to them by contact tracers.

The Irish Pharmacy Union has warned that there will be a shortage of antigen tests in Ireland this week as stocks are being awaited.

The secretary general of the Irish Pharmacy Union Darragh O’Loughlin told RTÉ’s Today show that pharmacies are running out of antigen tests and are now putting a limit on how many people can buy.

He added that he understands that there were orders due into Ireland later this week but until then there are shortages expected.

The increase in testing is in response to a continuing rise in Covid cases over the winter period due to the Omicron variant.

The five-day moving average currently stands at over 20,000 cases a day.

Along with antigen tests, anyone over the age of 16 can now avail of a Covid booster vaccine.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said the acceleration of the programme was to “maintain momentum and build on the additional capacity put in place by the HSE over the last month within our vaccination centres and in primary care”.

“This acceleration of the programmes means that many of our vaccination centres will now be administering primary, booster and paediatric doses of COVID-19 vaccine,” he added.

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