THE first batch of 100 million Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) will be distributed to NSW essential public workers and vulnerable communities from this week to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Premier Dominic Perrottet said the NSW Government will receive 50 million tests from mid-January to February, with a further 50 million tests being sourced for delivery from February and into March.
“We are ensuring essential workers in our public workforce and vulnerable communities have access to free kits in this first round,” Mr Perrottet said.
“These tests, all approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, will help them to quickly ascertain if they need to self-isolate and ensure support and health advice is provided to those who need it.”
Minister for Enterprise, Investment and Trade, Stuart Ayres said the Government’s procurement teams have worked hard to secure tests that meet the TGA’s robust standards.
“The NSW community has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, which is why we’re able to confidently shift to this new phase of test and isolate.”
“The procurement of these additional rapid antigen tests will support the NSW public sector workforce, support our return to school plan and provide support to those most in need.”
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the boost to NSW’s RAT supply will help alleviate the pressure on the NSW Health system – as well as provide protection for our most vulnerable.
“Most people should now use a RAT to confirm if they are positive for COVID-19. This allows PCRs to be used when medically required for clinical care, as well as drastically reducing the queues for PCR testing,” Mr Hazzard said.
“While this is an important step in our management of COVID-19, I urgently remind everyone that vaccination and boosters are the best way to keep hospitalisations down and loved ones safe.”
NSW Health and the Department of Communities and Justice will jointly lead distribution of the RATs, with logistical support from NGOs and Primary Health Networks.
Vulnerable populations will be prioritised, including:
o Aboriginal communities
o people receiving aged care services in the home
o people with a disability in supported independent living accommodation
o social housing tenants, rough sleepers and women’s refuges
o vulnerable families and children and young people in residential and out-of-home care
Critical government settings have also been prioritised to ensure continuity of essential public services, including return to school, health and transport.
Planning is underway for the rollout of additional tranches of Rapid Antigen Tests in the coming months
More than 42,000 tests are already on their way to 44 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and NGOs supporting rough sleepers and refugees for distribution from tomorrow.
The NSW Government has allocated $250M to procure the first tranche of 50.1 million RATs.
For more information on rapid antigen testing, please go to: