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Eligibility criteria introduced for free lateral flow tests

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An eligibility criteria will be introduced to continue to receive free Lateral flow tests (LFTs) from Monday 15 August.

Free LFTs will be made available to health and social care staff, patients attending hospital for a procedure or those who are considered very high risk of serious illness from Covid-19 infection.  

Anyone who is not eligible for free tests will be able to purchase them from local pharmacies.

From the same date any visitors to health and social care settings as well as the Isle of Man Prison will no longer be required to take an LFT before attending. This includes patients attending day clinics, visitors to Noble’s Hospital and visitors to residential or care homes operated by Manx Care. 

Those who are eligible for free LFTs will be able to access their free tests from;

  • Health and Social Care staff – provided by their place of work
  • Patients with a planned hospital admission – provided by the Preoperative Assessment Clinic
  • High risk’ individuals

Individuals should check their own eligibility against the list of conditions on the high risk antiviral webpage. If they are included on the list they can contact their GP directly to provide the appropriate letter to access a pack of three free LFTs via local pharmacies.

The Isle of Man Government has issued over 3.7 million free LFTs since the start of the pandemic, totalling over £8 million with associated costs.   

This change to LFT access and requirements is part of Governments endemic approach to living with COVID-19, as we move towards managing the virus like any other respiratory infection.

The population now has much stronger protection against COVID-19 than at any other point in the pandemic due to the vaccination programme, natural immunity, access to antivirals, and increased scientific and public understanding about how to manage risk. Immunity will further be boosted with the commencement of the Autumn Booster programme, starting in September.

It is still important to continue practising protective measures following the ‘hands, face, space and fresh air’ advice. This includes staying at home if you are unwell. These measures will help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections.

Please check our frequently asked questions page if you are unsure about how these changes will affect you.

Should the risk to the general public increase through another variant or a significant wave of covid cases then universal free tests will be re-introduced.