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DCC Update – Covid-19 Testing changes from 1st April 2022 and Spring Booster Vaccines

Since January 2021, our community testing teams have been out and about across Devon delivering a mobile COVID-19 lateral flow testing service to thousands of people. But that's about to change.

Published: 30 March 2022

Community outreach vans will continue, but will no longer deliver lateral flow tests

Since January 2021, our community testing teams have been out and about across Devon delivering a mobile COVID-19 lateral flow testing service to thousands of people. But that’s about to change.

From the end of this month, the government’s ‘Living with COVID-19’ plan sees an end to universal access to free lateral flow and PCR tests for most people.

Our community outreach vans will continue to support the COVID-19 vaccinations programme alongside NHS Devon colleagues, but they won’t provide free lateral flow tests from Friday 1 April.

PCR testing sites in Devon, run by the Department for Health, will close on Wednesday 30 March.

What do we do for COVID-19 tests after Friday 1 April?

You can still order COVID-19 lateral flow tests from the government’s website, subject to availability, until 11.59pm on Thursday 31 March.

After that, lateral flow tests will be available to buy from local pharmacies and online. And PCR tests will continue to be free for care home residents, hospital patients and other vulnerable groups, if they have symptoms of coronavirus.

While there will no longer be access to free lateral flow tests from Friday 1 April, Public Health Devon hopes that people will continue to use up the tests they currently have, ‘to greatest effect’.

Steve Brown, Devon’s Director of Public Health Devon, explains.

“If you have a supply of tests at home, please consider taking a test before visiting older or vulnerable friends or relatives, or before visits to GP surgeries or to hospital.”

Be careful if buying COVID-19 tests online

If you’re shopping online for COVID-19 tests look out for scams, and know who you’re buying from.

Janet Quinn, from Heart of the South West Trading Standards Service, said:

“Only order lateral flow tests from a pharmacy. Do not get them from any other sources.

“The NHS, government or Public Health Devon will never send text messages or emails with a link inviting you to purchase a lateral flow test. If you receive such a message or see such an offer, these are from fraudsters who are trying to access your money or personal information.”

If you receive a suspicious text, forward it to 7726 or if you receive a suspicious email, forward it to and then delete it. You can report fraud or cyber crime to Action Fraud using the online reporting tool, which will guide you through simple questions to identify what has happened and advisors are available on web chat 24 hours a day to give you help and advice if you need it.

Everything you need to know about the spring COVID-19 booster in Devon

This week spring COVID-19 booster jabs started to be offered to people in Devon at greatest risk of COVID-19 infection, many of whom had their first booster six months ago.

This additional dose will help protect them if COVID-19 rates are high over the summer months and reduce their chances of needing hospital treatment if they do catch the virus.

The groups eligible for the spring booster are:

  • People aged 75 years and older
  • Residents in a care home for older adults
  • People aged 12 years old and over who have a weakened immune system – this includes people in different groups including those with underlying health conditions such as chronic leukaemia or lymphoma, and those who have had immunosuppressive treatment following an organ transplant or have had radiotherapy or chemotherapy.

The best time to have the spring booster is around six months after the previous booster, although the minimum interval is three months.

You can find your nearest walk-in clinic on the NHS site finder website or book an appointment via the National Booking System.

And finally… Although there are no longer legal restrictions, COVID-19 is still out there and infecting a lot of people.

Case numbers in Devon are still rising, and we all have a responsibility to keep taking these five simple steps so we can protect ourselves, our loved ones and communities:

  1. stay at home if you can, if you have symptoms of an infectious illness, and test for COVID-19 ️
  2. please continue to wear a face covering in crowded enclosed places, unless you’re exempt ????
  3. get vaccinated to help protect yourself and others from becoming seriously ill ????
  4. Let fresh air in when you meet others indoors ????
  5. wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds

Government update - Covid -19Who is eligible for a spring booster?

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