This video explains when and how to use a COVID-19 self-test.


Four questions about self-tests
Speakers: Colene Zomer (researcher with the RIVM Corona Behavioural Unit) and Sacha de Stoppelaar (senior medical advisor)

COLENE ZOMER: If people have symptoms and they have self-tests available at home, they will test earlier and more often.

VISUAL: Four questions about self-tests.
VISUAL: Can I use self-tests if I have symptoms?

SACHA DE STOPPELAAR: Many people with symptoms get tested by the Municipal Public Health Service: the GGD. Testing is very important in controlling COVID-19. A recent study showed that self-tests work well compared to the GGD tests, if people have symptoms. The advice on testing will be updated: If you have symptoms, get tested. You can go to the GGD, or use a self-test at home. We hope that this will help more people to get tested as soon as they have symptoms. More testing means finding more infections and controlling the spread. If your self-test is positive, get tested by the GGD to confirm the results.

VISUAL: Why is the policy changing?

COLENE ZOMER: We researched how people thought they would respond if they woke up with symptoms related to COVID-19. Our research showed that people who had self-tests available at home would use a self-test sooner and more often – as much as 20% more. That is important in preventing transmission.

VISUAL: Did you explore other options?

COLENE ZOMER: The current recommendation is “get tested if you have symptoms.” We compared that to “get tested if you have symptoms, but if you can’t go to the GGD, then use a self-test”. That did not result in any changes in overall detection of the virus. There was no change in the frequency of GGD testing or self-testing. That meant that about the same number of infections were detected.

VISUAL: What should people do now?

SACHA DE STOPPELAAR: If you have symptoms, you obviously do not want to infect others. Make sure you have several self-tests at home. If you start to develop symptoms, you can use a self-test right away. Do it quickly, as soon as your symptoms start. If you keep having symptoms, use another self-test the next day. The GGD test lanes will also remain open. If you are vulnerable, or if you have direct contact with vulnerable people or people who are seriously ill, you are still advised to get tested by the GGD.

VISUAL: Would you like to know more about COVID-19?
An RIVM production 2021