Lateral flow test shortage: why are there no Covid home test kits available to order on government website?

Shortage in rapid lateral flow test kits through government website

Days after health officials introduced new measures to limit the spread of Covid, there appears to be a shortage of home lateral flow test kits.

According to the government website, "there are no more home tests available" when people have logged on to order testing kits to adhere to the advice.

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Ministers have moved to introduce measures to limit the spread of Covid amid increasing concern around the Omicron variant, first identified in South Africa on 24 November.

Prime minister Boris Johnson has encouraged people over the age of 18 to book their booster jab - a third dose of Covid vaccine - to offer greater protection against the new variant.

Though many people are experiencing delays, stuck in queues on the NHS website, with some of the earliest risers on 13 December still not getting an appointment until after Christmas.

Is there a home test kit shortage?

Lateral flow home test kits are currently unavailable on the government website.

It reads: "There are no more home tests available.

"Sorry, there are no more home test kits available right now. Try again later. Or, you can go back and try to book a test site appointment instead."

One person wrote on Twitter: "Tried to order a lateral flow test kit and the NHS site says they have no more! What’s going on!"

Lateral flow home test kits are currently unavailable on the government website

Why is there a shortage of home testing kits?

It remains unclear why there is a shortage of home testing kits.

Responding to the news that lateral flow home test kits are unavailable on the Government website, Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner posted: “Testing is absolutely vital in keeping us safe and allowing people to make safe choices.

“The Government’s inability to procure properly and plan for civil contingencies is reckless. Boris Johnson has his priorities in the wrong place.”

Yet Boris Johnson said there was a “ready supply” of lateral flow tests despite the government website saying there was none available.

The prime minister said: “They can get those tests, we do have a ready supply of lateral flow tests.

“If you can’t get one online for any reason, then there are ample supplies in the shops. But what I think, if I may say so, what that also shows is that people are doing the sensible thing, and getting tests as well.”

Where can I get a lateral flow test kit?

If you need a lateral flow test kit then you might have more joy looking at a local pharmacy (Boots have them), or to book a test site appointment such as ExpressTest.

Depending on the reason why you need a lateral flow test kit, some workplaces and schools are also offering them out to employees and students or staff.

Can I get a PCR test kit?

There doesn’t seem to be any issues in the availability of PCR test kits.

Can I get a booster jab appointment?

The lack of home lateral flow test kits comes at the same time as people are stuck in queues trying to book their Covid booster vaccine.

In a tweet, the NHS said: "The Covid vaccine booking service is currently facing extremely high demand so is operating a queuing system.

"For users aged 18-29, please be aware that booking opens on Wednesday 15 Dec. For all others experiencing waits, we would advise trying again later today or tomorrow."

It comes on the first day that 30 to 39-year-olds in England can officially book the jab.

The service had already booked more than 140,000 vaccine appointments on Monday, NHS Digital said.

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