COVID19: Free tests only for vaccinated, €10 ceiling

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Only vaccinated people, children under 16, and certain vulnerable groups will be entitled to a free rapid antigen test for COVID-19 after the government scraps free testing on 1 August.

Individuals with health conditions that exclude them from getting a COVID-19 jab, and teens between 16 and 17 whose parents do not consent to them getting a shot, will also be allowed a free test.

The Health Ministry said that people who chose to remain unvaccinated would have to pay a maximum of €10 every three days to get tested at a neighbourhood pharmacy or a designated lab.

It said labs and pharmacies would be monitored to see if they comply with the requirements.

Failure to do so will result in labs and pharmacies losing their license to carry out the antigen tests and be fined.

The Cabinet set the maximum price for the tests at €10.

The Health Ministry’s free rapid test programme will continue for those who cannot be vaccinated, while free tests will also be made available for those who take the first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Mobile units will carry out free testing for eligible groups.

The ministry stressed the units would serve only those groups who are entitled to free tests.

“These units are not authorised to receive money from members of the public.”

The free tests at mobile units will be offered to the following groups on the presentation of ID and confirmatory documentation:

  • Minors aged up to 16 who are not eligible for a vaccination against Covid-19.
  • Children aged 16 and 17 whose parents/guardians do not consent to them being vaccinated
  • Anyone aged 16 and above who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons must present a medical certificate.
  • Pregnant women on presentation of a medical certificate from their gynaecologist confirming that vaccination is not recommended.
  • People who have received the first dose of the vaccine and for three weeks require a test to secure a Safe Pass. A vaccination card is needed as proof
  • People who have completed their vaccination but wish to take the test. A vaccination card is necessary.

A Safe Pass is needed to gain entry at crowded indoor and outdoor venues, including restaurants, bars, gyms, cafes, and hotels.

It is also required from employees in the private and public sectors.

A Safe Pass is proof of vaccination, had a negative test within 72 hours, or recovered from the virus in the past six months.