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Covid-19 testing, treatments & the Spring booster

With the ever-changing Covid-19 landscape, we provide a summary on the new guidelines for testing, treatments and the vaccination programme, including the spring booster. 

PCR Tests and Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs)

As part of the government's "Living with Covid" plan all free Covid testing sites are set to close from 1 April. 

Free PCR testing is no longer available in England or Wales. They remain available for some people in Northern Ireland or Scotland – check your eligibiity here. 

Lateral flow test kits (LFTs) will no longer be available for free to most people, however the following groups will continue to have access to free LFTs in England should they develop symptoms of Covid-19:

  • People eligible for Covid-19 treatments if they test positive for the virus - It's likley that your free LFT has already been sent to your home, otherwise please order online, or call 119.  
  • People living or working in institutions/care homes where it is important to minimise outbreaks
  • People being discharged from hospitals to care homes or hospices

 Advice on Covid-19 testing in other parts of the UK:

If you are not eligible for free test kits, but wish to test yourself for COVID-19, lateral flow tests will continue to be available to buy from pharmacies and supermarkets, including online. They vary in price, from £2+ for a single test kit to £50+ for a multi-pack.

Treatments

People in England eligible for Covid-19 treatments are being sent free LFTs to use if they develop Covid-19 symptoms, in order to provide access to treatments. You do not need to take a PCR test, although if you were previously sent one, please keep it - You may be asked to use it if you receive COVID-19 treatments. If you test positive for Covid-19 using an LFT, you need to report your test result online or call 119, so the NHS can contact you about treatment. 

This letter explains more about LFTs and treatments.

If you have not received your free tests or need more tests, you can order online or call 119.

*kidney disease patients eligible for Covid-19 treatments
  • Kidney transplant recipients (including those with failed transplants within the past 12 months)
  • Non-transplant patients who have received a comparable level of immunosuppression
  • Patients with chronic kidney stage 4 or 5 (an eGFR less than 30 ml/min/1.73m2) (without immunosuppression), including dialysis patients

See the full guide on what treatments are available. 

Vaccination 

COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be safe, effective and life-saving. Ensuring that you are fully vaccinated is still the best way to protect yourself from serious illness, hospitalisation or death if you contract Covid-19. We also recommend eligible household members take up the offer of vaccination.

A spring booster is now being offered to those over 75, those living in care homes and those aged over 12 who are immunosuppressed. All eligible groups can access the spring booster now as long as it is at least 3 months since your last dose, although for some people the gap will be closer to 6 months.

See the full Covid-19 Kidney patients' vaccination guide.

Further information on COVID-19 for people with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD).

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