The eighth of Health Issues Centre’s (HIC) COVID-19 community forums was held on December 13th, 2021. HIC was commissioned by the Burnet Institute to conduct this online forum as a component of their Optimise Study which is seeking to better understand how the community is managing and responding to COVID-19 and the measures introduced to stop its spread. The aim of the forum was to investigate barriers and enablers to consumer uptake of Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs).

You can now watch the full forum:

Several key principles emerged from the forum:

  • Cost: Currently in Australia, RATs are not covered by Medicare and the cost of the test is borne by the user.
  • Appropriate usage: People weren’t sure about when to use RATs (particularly as an alternative to PCR tests) and how to use them.
  • Contextual usage: Consumers require clear information on how RATs relate to and fit in with other health measures, including restrictions, vaccine requirements, and other tests.
  • Approval: Members of the panel reinforced that the TGA’s stringent regulatory approach gives consumers confidence about the efficacy and usefulness of TGA-approved tests
  • Convenience: Consumers appreciated the convenience of being able to use RATs at home.

Read the full report.

The HIC is continuing to identify future consumer healthcare needs in a constantly evolving COVID-impacted healthcare environment and working to help ensure the COVID-19 response is informed by a range of consumer voices.