High street pharmacist Boots will be selling lateral flow tests for COVID-19 in response to the government ending the scheme which offered them to the public for free.
The move comes after the government unveiled its ‘Living with COVID-19‘ strategy on Monday, which involved calling to a halt the free availability of lateral flow test kits from the government website for the general public, excluding the vulnerable and over-75s.
This does not fully come into action until April 1, but Boots will be the first major retailer to sell the tests online after the government announcement, beginning sales from Wednesday, February 23.
People can still access free NHS lateral flow tests kits in Boots stores until April.
They will cost shoppers £5.99 per test or £17 for a pack of four, a price which includes delivery within 48 hours, and there will also be PCR and antigen tests on sale on the Boots website.
The tests will include an option to send your results to the UK Health Security Agency, and from early March Boots has said you will be able to pick up tests from more than 400 of its stores for £2.50 each.
Ministers have explained that retailers are free to decide how much they charge for the tests, without government control on pricing, and Boots’ £5.99 price per test is above the originally indicated cost of £2-£5, or £20 for a pack of seven.
It is believed that Boots’ move will be followed by other retailers in the UK, with Aldi and Lidl currently stocking COVID-19 tests in stores across other countries in Europe.