From today, people in Belgium in need of a Covid-19 test for reasons including travel and festivals, can now take a rapid antigen in more than 1,000 pharmacies around Belgium.
1. How it works
Similarly to a PCR test, a rapid antigen test involves a deep nasal swab, so the pharmacists offering these tests have received special training in order to be able to perform them. The result of the test is quick, taking only about 15 minutes to be known, and is then officially registered through the health institute Sciensano. A few hours later this result then appears on the Covid test certificate, available for people to consult via the government’s CovidSafeBE app. No maximum price has been set by the government for this rapid antigen test. It will cost between €25 and €30 per test and is not refundable.
By offering a rapid test, we will save many travellers and festival-goers stress, by giving them a quick result in a quality way.Koen Straetmans, APB Chair
2. Increased capacity to ease pressure
According to the General Pharmaceutical Association (APB), enabling many pharmacies to offer these tests and increasing capacity aims to ease the pressure on testing centres, general practitioners and laboratories. “If each of the at least 1,000 participating pharmacists takes 10 tests a day, we increase the total testing capacity by no less than 10,000 a day,” said chair of the APB, Koen Straetmans.
“This rapid testing is a logical continuation of the informative, sensitising and orientation task of the pharmacist”. Straetmans continued, “Partly thanks to the pharmacists, people will be able to enjoy a lot of freedom this summer” adding, “By offering a rapid test, we will save many travellers and festival-goers stress, by giving them a quick result in a quality way.” However, although an antigen test result is accepted in several European countries as an alternative to the PCR test, the APB urges departing travellers to carefully check this for their destination and be sure of the conditions under which the test is accepted.