Soft landing highlights need for Rapid Antigen Test safeguard

Community pharmacy ideally positioned to meet expected demand.

The announcement by the Western Australian government, ‘Public health measures to ease with WA’s soft landing secured’ of 26 April, has reinforced the need for the ongoing use of Rapid Antigen Tests.

The announced measures, which take effect from today, include that COVID-19;

  • asymptomatic close contacts will no longer have to isolate for seven days, provided they observe the announced public health measures, which include undertaking daily Rapid Antigen Testing, and
  • symptomatic close contacts are still required to isolate until symptoms resolve and get tested as per existing protocols.

The increased testing regime arrangements will create additional demand for the tests. To help meet this demand the Commonwealth’s Concessional Access Program through community pharmacy has been extended through to the end of June 2022.

Pharmacy Guild of Australia WA Branch President, Andrew Ngeow noted that “testing will be a necessary front line precaution, particularly the State is still recording many new COVID-19 cases, with nearly 9,000 yesterday.”

As the winter ‘cold and flu season’ approaches, knowing the difference between having COVID-19, influenza or a cold will be critical in ensuring people are able to respond appropriately, to protect themselves and those around them.

“This is particularly so as the wearing of masks will no longer be mandatory, except in certain high-risk settings including hospitals and residential aged care facilities,” Mr Ngeow said.

Given the expected increase in demand, the WA Branch is also highlighting that these new arrangements will not result in the occurrence of so-called price gouging of Rapid Antigen Tests, which were reported by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission in January.

“I can confirm that there has been good supply of Rapid Antigen Tests into Western Australia across the last two months, a vastly different situation to what was happening in the COVID-19 ravaged eastern states in January. Community pharmacy also has sufficient stock for those people outside the Concessional Access Program who will need to purchase a test,” Mr Ngeow said.

As social measures are relaxed, and the need to utilise Rapid Antigen Tests is heightened, the WA Branch is reminding all Western Australians that tests are widely available through their local community pharmacy and is encouraging their use in accordance with the Western Australian government’s directives.

/Public Release. View in full here.