As the debate over the use of antigen testing in Ireland booms, the Irish Independent has examined how the use and cost of rapid tests here compares to those in other countries.
From now on, the HSE will send a pack of test kits to people who are fully vaccinated and have no symptoms, but who turn out to be close contacts of someone diagnosed with Covid-19. They can test themselves at home for several days.
Nphet still strongly recommends taking a more accurate PCR test performed by the HSE and then self-isolating while awaiting the results.
However, those who have not been considered close contact by the HSE still have to pay for pharmacy antigen testing, and the price varies.
A price comparison by the Independent Irish shows that a single antigen test can range in cost from 4.49 € to 7.95 €.
Tesco had the lowest price per test at € 4.49 – compared to € 7.95 at an independent pharmacy for the exact same kit.
The Lloyds Pharmacy chain sells a pack of five antigenic tests for € 30 (€ 6 per test), while Boots offers its five pack for € 32.50 (€ 6.50).
Boots also offers a rapid in-store antigen testing service for customers which costs € 35 per test.
In May this year, German supermarket chain Lidl made national headlines when it started selling the kits at € 24.99 for a five-pack (€ 5 per test).
In the UK, people who do not have Covid-19 can have antigen tests sent to their homes for free.
Members of the public can also redeem two packs of seven rapid tests at a pharmacy when they provide a “collection code”.
The NHS recommends that everyone take a rapid test twice a week and isolate if the test comes back positive for Covid-19.
He says rapid tests are accurate to 99.9 pc and that the chances of getting a “false positive” are “very low”.
The UK’s testing program was criticized this week by Irish chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan.
Dr Holohan argued that the tests are not as accurate as PCR tests and warned that some Irish parents are using rapid tests instead of PCR tests and then send their children back to school.
This week, the U.S. government announced it would be doing rapid home tests, which currently sell for around $ 10 per test, cheaper and more readily available as part of a $ 10 billion investment (8 , 6 billion euros).
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently authorizing more brands of antigen kits, which will help lower prices and increase supply.
Denmark, which has been compared to Ireland in terms of vaccine size and deployment, offers free PCR and antigen testing to all citizens. Testing appointments do not need to be made and unvaccinated people are encouraged to get tested once or twice a week.
The French government has started charging unvaccinated adults for PCR and antigen tests, which were previously free, with the aim of increasing its current use of the 75pc vaccine. While all tests are still free for fully vaccinated adults, it now costs an unvaccinated person € 44 for a PCR test, € 5.20 for a home antigen test and € 22 for a rapid test. in pharmacy. About six million people in France have not yet received a single dose of the vaccine.