Austria: Coronavirus tests rolled out in pharmacies

Austria: Coronavirus tests rolled out in pharmacies
Austria will begin testing for coronavirus in pharmacies Photo: ALEX HALADA / AFP
Austrian health authorities have begun a rollout of coronavirus antigen tests in pharmacies across the country.

The Ministry of Health on Thursday, November 19th approved a request from the Austrian Chamber of Pharmacists to allow for antigen tests to be carried out in pharmacies across the country. 

The tests will cost between €25 and €40. While the tests will be available to everyone, an appointment will need to be made and the person taking the test must be symptom free. 

According to Austria’s Kurier newspaper, the tests are “available immediately”, provided the pharmacy has met a set of requirements laid out by health officials. 

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In order to be allowed to dispense the tests, pharmacists will be required to register with the Chamber and have completed training on how to administer a throat swab. 

In addition, the area in which the tests are taken must be in a spatially different area to where the usual customer traffic arrives in the pharmacy. 

Demand for the tests is large, reports Kurier, with “requests coming in constantly”. 

Several pharmacies have been registered in each federal state, however there is as yet no state or nationwide register set up for which pharmacies are offering tests. 

Unlike PCR tests, antigen tests can provide a result in less than an hour. However, they are less accurate as they measure surface proteins of Covid-19 particles. 

This means that they are most effective for people who are highly infectious – i.e. with a high viral load. This means that unlike PCR tests there is the possibility that positive people may falsely receive a negative test result. 


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