To: Australian and State Governments
COVID testing support needed for the severely immunocompromised
The severely immunocompromised need the following COVID testing support:
1) Self-managed surveillance testing of close contacts of the immunosuppressed (e.g. support workers, class mates, close work colleagues and household members).
2) At-home, free and timely PCR testing (i.e. for symptomatic severely immunocompromised and those they care for as well as when required prior to medical treatments etc.).
3) RATs made available free of charge and sent directly to the homes of the severely immunocompromised.
Why is this important?
The severely immunocompromised are vulnerable to severe disease when infected with COVID19. Right now, COVID testing programs are insufficient to protect the immunosuppresed. Effective testing is difficult to access and costly to individuals. Supported COVID testing is needed.
Severely immunocompromised people need to test those close to them regularly. They need to know when to shield themselves from others. Many severely immunocompromised people are unwell and not mobile and rely on support workers. Many live, study or work closely with others, and risk exposure to COVID, despite their best efforts to shield. Some, like the parents of children, are carers and find themselves in the impossible position of needing those in their charge tested, but can't because they simply can't risk sharing a car with a person with symptoms. It is simply not safe for the severely immunocompromised to line up for a PCR test.
Time is of the essence for a severely immunocompromised person with COVID. This is because there are treatments available that can prevent severe disease, but these must be started early. They need ready and safe access to testing. Every day counts.