Opinion: Free Antigen Tests Should Be Made Available To Public

A Wexford TD is calling for free antigen tests to be made available…

Johnny Mythen TD has called for the widespread availability of free Antigen test kits to alleviate the burden on the PCR testing system.

Speaking on Friday, the Wexford Sinn Féin TD said:

“Omicron is now widespread within our communities. The recent figures show the HSE has almost reached its full capacity at 300,000 PCR tests per week, the equivalent to 6% of the population per week.”

“With the numbers increasing all over Europe, we too can expect huge strains on our health service on a continued basis in the next couple of weeks. Minister Donnelly must immediately put in place a strategic plan to mitigate against this new variant. We cannot always be in re-active mode, the government needs to be proactive to combat and mitigate.”

“Furthermore, I would urge the Health Minister to quickly assess any ancillary care teams or staff whose resources or expertise we may be able to divert to help supplement the PCR testing teams. This will be vital to eradicate staff-burnout, over-working and the inevitable staff absences that we could face as Omicron spreads further.”

“I believe antigen testing will be a major medical aid in the fight against the spread of Omicron. Antigen testing must now become a prominent part in the overall testing regime, and an up to date and clear message must be communicated effectively to our citizens in relation to the Public Health advice on self-isolation.”

Deputy Mythen’s comments come as the public are finding it increasingly difficult to book a PCR test, even after receiving a positive antigen test result.

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