Covid-19 testing: what tests can help you stay safe as we move out of lockdown?

Young woman taking a Covid-19 test at the pharmacy.

The government is to expand their workplace testing programme to offer rapid home tests to staff. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

All you need to know about booking a coronavirus test under the UK’s new travel restrictions and how an antibody test can help you measure your body’s response to the vaccine.

Daniel Cheung, from Medix Pharmacy in Stevenage, answers some of your most recently asked questions regarding Covid-19 tests:

Q: Why should I book an antibody test after my Covid-19 vaccine?

A: The antibody test can indicate if your body has reacted positively to the Covid-19 vaccine and subsequently produced antibodies, giving the body a level of protection against Covid-19. Antibodies are produced when your immune system is fighting off illness, they are specific to the virus they are fighting.

The test targets antibodies against the spike protein present in coronavirus. It will measure the presence and level of antibodies, to see if you have immune protection. If you’ve had no history of natural infection, the Roche Spike Protein Antibody test can be used to determine if you’ve had an effective response to the Covid-19 vaccine.

This can offer you peace of mind, knowing you or a loved one has developed a level of protection against coronavirus. Measuring antibody levels could play a role in establishing overall vaccine efficacy and vaccine-induced immune response.

Q: Can I do my antibody test at home?

Doctor's hand with medical glove and a Covid-19 test tube

Antibody tests can indicate if you’ve previously contracted Covid-19 and show if you’ve developed some level of immunity to the virus. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A: The antibody test must be carried out in the pharmacy by a trained professional. We’ll take a vial of your blood and send it to the laboratory for testing.

The quantitative test is carried out using the Roche ECLIA method, which is incredibly accurate as it gives a total SARS-CoV-2 IgS result, which gives an indication of how well the body has reacted to the vaccine. 

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Q: How long after my vaccine can I book the test?

A: You can book a test four weeks after receiving the vaccine. The test can be done after you’ve received either the first or second dose.

Q: How long will it take to get my results?

A: You’ll receive your results within 24 to 36 hours.

Q: What other coronavirus tests may I need?

A: Changes to the UK’s travel restrictions now mean it is mandatory for all international travellers coming back to the UK to take a PCR/antigen test on day two and day eight of their return. This is to help identify variants of coronavirus and protect the public. The viral (antigen test) will show if you currently have Covid-19. 

You may also need to book an antigen test before flying from the UK. Stay up to date with travel rules and check with your airline to see what they require. Contact a member of our team for help to find out what information you’ll need to leave or return to the country.

Q: How long do I have to self-isolate after travelling back to the UK from overseas?

Passport, medical mask and airplane. Concept of Travelling during coronavirus, covid-19 pandemic

You may also need to book an antigen test before flying from the UK. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A: You’ll need to self-isolate for 10 days following your arrival date. You can apply for a Test to Release to shorten your quarantine.

This will allow you to pay to have a PCR/antigen test. The test can’t be done any earlier than the fifth day of your return to the country, and you will need a negative result before your quarantine can end.

Q: How can I book my antigen test?

A: You can book yourself in for a pharmacy test or we can send you a home antigen kit. We’ll ask for your flight details, where you’re flying to and from, and any transit countries you may be travelling through.

This enables us to book your test in ample time to get your results and ensure you have everything you need to travel safely.

Medix Pharmacy (MDX Healthcare Ltd) is a registered UK government-approved private Covid-19 testing provider (UKAS No: 22360). We’re dedicated to helping our customers stay safe throughout the pandemic and are happy to help in any way that we can.

Visit mdxhealthcare.com to book an appointment or see the FAQs page to find out more. 

Email covid@mdxhealthcare.com or call 01438 940654 to speak to a member of the team. Text or WhatsApp them on 07307 023275 or 07716 479454.

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