‘No shortage’ of lateral flow tests in NI, insists Department of Health

The Department of Health has stressed that despite very heavy demand, there is no shortage of Covid-19 lateral flow tests across Northern Ireland.

While members of the public and pharmacies have reported difficulties obtaining the rapid test kits, the Department has insisted that more than one million tests have been delivered into Northern Ireland in a 48-hour period earlier this week.

Everyone has been asked to stay patient while trying to obtain the tests.

The Department said that rapid lateral flow tests are available from more than 580 sites across Northern Ireland, including over 500 community pharmacies.

PCR tests are no longer needed for those with positive lateral flow in Northern Ireland.

“Community pharmacies are replenished regularly and additional deliveries are being made into Northern Ireland on a regular basis.

“You can use the site finder to find an alternative local collection site,” a statement from the Department said.

“Tests are also available to order online. Due to high demand, tests may be released in batches throughout the day on the online home delivery service.

“If you are not able to order tests immediately, please check again regularly throughout the day.”

Programme director Matt Wills said: “I would ask everyone to be patient and keep trying if they are unable to access tests immediately.

“We know the Omicron variant spreads rapidly and lateral flow tests are an extremely effective way to reduce transmission. Regular testing will help to reduce pressure on our health and social care services, and protect the people close to us.”