Not like international locations akin to Australia, UK and the US, fast antigen testing has solely not too long ago been authorized to be used in New Zealand for the likes of companies, healthcare suppliers and unvaccinated travellers. Nonetheless, that is set to alter in 2022 with the federal government seeking to make testing extra broadly accessible to scale back the variety of individuals with undiagnosed Covid.
Speedy antigen testing (RAT) has a quicker turnaround than PCR testing with outcomes accessible in 15 to half-hour. This sort of take a look at is at present required if you happen to’re travelling domestically by aircraft or ferry, or leaving Auckland and is free for the core summer time interval.
RATs aren’t accepted for travelling abroad. If you happen to plan to journey abroad, you have to to e book a PCR (polymerase chain response) take a look at by way of your GP or a non-public journey clinic.
Let’s get you up to the mark on the whole lot else you want to know!
What’s a fast antigen take a look at?
Speedy antigen checks, also referred to as lateral circulate checks, are cheaper and quicker than a PCR take a look at. Nonetheless, they’re additionally much less correct.
A fast antigen take a look at works slightly in another way from PCR checks, that are the kind you will get at non-public or government-run testing clinics. Antigen checks search for proteins within the virus to detect its presence, whereas a PCR appears to be like for the RNA materials that tells the virus to provide these proteins.
A fast antigen take a look at is rather a lot simpler, faster, and cheaper to do on a sensible degree. You’ll be able to even do it your self at house because it doesn’t essentially require a medical skilled (the directions are within the field.)
Sorts of fast antigen checks
There are two sorts of fast antigen checks accessible in New Zealand: nasopharyngeal and entrance of nostril swab.
Nasopharyngeal checks contain inserting a nasal swab into your nostril to gather a pattern from the nasopharynx (the higher a part of the throat behind the nostril). It’s then twirled round a number of occasions permitting the swab to gather a pattern of the cells and fluids current to be analysed. The nasal swab must be inserted fairly far to gather a great specimen for an correct take a look at consequence. Some individuals discover nasal RATs extraordinarily uncomfortable. But it surely’s throughout in a number of seconds.
Entrance of nostril checks are a lot much less invasive and may be carried out by inserting the swab partway into one or two nostrils, rotating it for 10 to fifteen seconds. This methodology is often used for house testing.
Each checks detect the presence of the virus that causes COVID-19. Each checks are deemed to be equally efficient at detecting the virus.
How a lot do fast antigen checks value?
4 fast antigen checks have been authorized by the federal government to be used in New Zealand. These are free for presidency departments, public well being businesses and aged care suppliers in excessive danger settings.
They’re additionally free are free for unvaccinated home travellers utilizing air, ferry transport or leaving Auckland throughout the core vacation interval (till 31 January) who’re required to have a unfavourable RAT. Exams should be booked at a pharmacy and carried out by a pharmacist.
Companies wishing to check workers past obligatory group testing should pay for RATs themselves. For example, Mainfreight paid between $10 to $12 a take a look at in a latest trial involving 30 companies.
The place can I get a fast antigen take a look at?
If you’re enrolled with a well being supplier, you will get a fast antigen take a look at by way of your GP. Supervised checks are additionally accessible at chosen pharmacies for unvaccinated home travellers over the age of 12 years and three months. You should be asymptomatic, that’s, not exhibiting any signs of Covid once you take the take a look at. If you’re, you have to to have a PCR take a look at as a substitute.
An inventory of pharmacies that present testing may be discovered on Healthpoint.
Professionals and cons of antigen checks
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