Greater Sydney COVID Update, 23 August 2021: Rapid Antigen Testing

I have had many members contact me about how they can access the Rapid Antigen Tests for their worksite as an alternative for workers that are not vaccinated to enable them to leave LGAs of concern for authorised work after 30 August.

You do not have to get Rapid Antigen testing for your site. If all your workers are vaccinated you don't need it. It is an option for those of you that have workers that do not want to be vaccinated or are having trouble getting an appointment for a vaccination before the end of the month.

I have collated the following information that I hope will help answer some of your questions.

Who can get Rapid Antigen Tests

All employers and industries can implement rapid antigen testing screening at their workplace. NSW Health has established guidance for workplaces conducting rapid antigen screening onsite and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) sets out regulations that apply to rapid antigen test kits and conditions of supply. The links below have more information.

Rapid Antigen Testing | NSW Government

Rapid Antigen Testing Process | NSW Government

A list of all rapid antigen tests approved for supply in Australia is available on the TGA website. You will need to contact the Australian supplier (sponsor) directly for further information on the particular rapid antigen test that they distribute. There are no contact details on the site link below as the TGA can’t be seen to be promoting one company over another. If you search the web for the name of the company that is listed as the sponsor you should be able to find their contact details.

The list of tests approved for supply in Australia is listed here:

COVID-19 test kits included in the ARTG for legal supply in Australia | Australian Government 

I have called a few of the companies listed and asked them to give me information about how to purchase and costs. I have included the contact details below:

  • Abbott Rapid Diagnostics – 1800 622 642
  • Roche Diagnostics – (02) 9860 2222
  • Stonestar Wholesale – (03) 9587 1222
  • Atomo Diagnostics – (02) 9099 4750
  • Pantonic Health – (03) 5975 1495 

Rules for Rapid Antigen Tests

The main obstacle that may prevent you from these tests at your workplace is that you will need a healthcare professional (nurse, pharmacist, allied health practitioner, physio, dentist, or doctor) to supervise the tests. An eligible healthcare professional is anyone that is registered with the AHPRA.

The healthcare professional doesn’t have to actually administer the tests but they do need to take the responsibility of the tests at your site and authorise that the tests have all been performed correctly. The healthcare professional can train your staff member to the correct use and interpretation of the tests and then authorise all tests conducted at your site by the person they have trained.

The company that you purchase the tests from is required to make sure you know everything that you need to do before you start. Generally they will conduct a training session (usually takes about 15 minutes) via Zoom and give you all information you need about the process. The tests work in 15 minutes - a single line indicating that the test is negative and two lines indicating the test is positive. There are very specific protocols for what to do if an employee returns a positive test.

Supply and Cost of Tests

Stonestar Wholesale will have stock available from 30 August and cost between $8.50 and $12.50 per test – depending on how many you buy at one time. (Contact: [email protected])

Roche Diagnostics currently have stock available (can be shipped overnight) and tests are $199 plus GST for a box of 25 (this is about $8 per test). (Contact: [email protected]

The other companies have not yet returned my calls.

What if I don’t get the Rapid Antigen Testing for my workplace?

From 30 August authorised workers that live in restricted LGAs will not be able to leave their LGA for authorised work if they haven't received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination. Negative COVID testing every 3 days will no longer be a reason for an unvaccinated worker to leave a restricted LGA for authorised work.

The only exception to this is if the worker has a medical exemption from the vaccine.

I hope this has given you some more information so you can now make your own business decision about the rapid antigen testing for your business. If you have any more questions please do not hesitate to give me or my AGWA colleagues a call.

The authorised worker permit is expected to be available on the Service NSW website before Friday this week. I will send the link when it is available.

Take care and stay safe,

Melissa Baker
National Industry Development Manager
Australian Glass and Window Association