Covid: How to get the NHS rapid lateral flow tests?

The NHS is providing rapid lateral flow COVID-19 tests for regular testing. It is advised that anyone who is not exhibiting any of the symptoms take the tests regularly. This is due to the fact that a third of the people who have been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind COVID-19, do not have symptoms but are still capable of spreading the infection to others.

It also holds true for people who are fully vaccinated. Even if you have received both your COVID-19 jabs, you are still capable of spreading the virus.

The NHS recommends taking a rapid lateral flow test every 3-4 days, that is at least twice a week, to check if you have COVID-19. You can immediately enter quarantine if you test positive and aid in curbing the further spread of the virus.

Smartphone Displaying the NHS Logo

How are rapid lateral flow tests done?

A rapid lateral flow test, similar to PCR tests, involves collecting swab samples from the back of the throat and inside the nose.

The samples are then placed in the liquid provided with the kit. After a specific amount of time has passed, the liquid with the swab samples in it is put on the test strip. The test strip might look like a cassette device similar to a pregnancy test.

You will receive the result in minutes.

Although not as accurate as PCR tests, the rapid lateral flow tests are still considered to be quite accurate, with an extremely low likelihood of receiving a false positive.

You must enter quarantine if your test result is positive for COVID-19.

A Swab Sample being Inserted into a Tube

How can I get the NHS lateral flow tests?

There are several ways you can obtain the NHS tests:

Order at-home tests

You can order lateral flow test kits delivered directly to your address. This can only be done via the government’s website.

Collect the tests from a nearby pharmacy

There is also an option to pick NHS lateral flow tests from a pharmacy near you. You can check available pharmacies providing the service by using the NHS website.

Please note, you will be required to register online for collect codes if you want to pick up test kits from pharmacies from 4 October 2021.

Test sites

There are many test sites that distribute lateral flow test kits. Moreover, certain community organizations have also set up test collection points.

You can find one near you here.

Other than being able to collect the kits for at-home use, you will be able to have the tests done at the sites. However, you may need a pre-booked appointment to do so.

How should I report the results of my rapid lateral flow test?

Whether you receive a positive, negative or inconclusive result, it is essential that you report it. It must be done every single time you perform a rapid lateral flow test at home.

You must report your test result on the government’s website.


Please note, the use of the NHS lateral flow tests is not permitted to be used for travel purposes. Instead, you must acquire travel tests from government-approved suppliers. You can purchase VIVO Clinic’s Antigen Tests for Travel here.



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