Free RATs are available from today: Are you eligible?

Jan 24, 2022
From Monday, January 24, six million rapid antigen tests (RATs) will be available for those with concession cards to access. Source: Getty

From Monday, January 24, six million rapid antigen tests (RATs) will be available for those with concession cards to access.

However, the messaging from the Federal Government around who is eligible to claim these free tests has been murky; with Pharmacy Guild branches around Australia warning that some states do not have the supply to begin this initiative this week.

We’ve waded through the muddy messaging to find exactly who is eligible, and how you can claim yours in your local area.

You are eligible for 10 free RATs every three months from January 24, 2022, with a maximum of five RATs per month, if you are the holder of a:

  • Pension concession card
  • Commonwealth seniors healthcare card
  • DVA gold, white or orange card
  • Health care card
  • Low-income card

The Department of Health website advises “you can ask for up to the monthly limit of RATs per eligible individual at any one time, subject to availability.”

According to The Herald Sun, RATs are supposed to be available across more than 5,500 Australian pharmacies, however, due to global RAT shortages, only a “few hundred” pharmacies will actually have stock. According to the President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia’s Queensland branch, Chris Owen, most Queensland pharmacies will not have stock for a while.

Speaking to ABC News, Owen said “Most pharmacies are still waiting for stock and waiting for their orders to arrive, so they will not have stock available for this program.”

“There is no stock available. They’re as rare as hens’ teeth.”

Taking a leaf from the book of good citizen Matt Hayward, the creator of the website, findarat.com.au, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia has created an official RAT finder website called Find a Pharmacy, which allows citizens to find a pharmacy that is currently involved in Covid-19 vaccinations, influenza vaccinations or the concessional access RAT program. However, when our journalists tested this website before publishing this story, the website did not work.

A simple step-by-step procedural guide on how to perform and comprehend a RAT is available at this link.

Once a result is indicated, all positive results must be registered with state authorities. The details for how to register this result can be found here:

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