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Added 22 November 2022

Guidance for COVID-19 testing and vaccination in homelessness settings (as of April 2023)


  • From April 2023 onwards, the UKHSA will no longer provide free asymptomatic and symptomatic tests to staff and service users in high-risk homelessness settings but will continue to provide outbreak testing.
  • The only exception to this is for individuals eligible for COVID-19 treatment who will continue to be eligible for symptomatic tests.
  • Staff should identify service users who are eligible for COVID-19 treatments and ensure they can access COVID-19 testing if required.
  • Service providers should always have test kits available on site.
  • Please see the updated guidance for further information on changes to the testing regime and instructions on how to manage an outbreak.

What is considered an outbreak?

  • An outbreak is defined as 2 or more linked cases of COVID-19 within 14 days.
  • As most symptomatic testing has been removed, an outbreak may be suspected when there is an increase in the number of staff and/or service users displaying symptoms of COVID-19 at the same time who are linked by personal contact.
  • If an outbreak is suspected, the first 5 linked service users with symptoms should take a LFD test at the earliest opportunity to establish whether the outbreak is being caused by COVID-19.

How to order COVID-19 tests:

  • Set up a Unique Organisation Number (UON) here
  • Use the UON to order tests here


  • Both the first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccination and the first booster remain available. For more information about the vaccine and for ways to support vaccine uptake, see our toolkit.
  • Vaccination can be offered to people without an NHS number and those who are not registered with a GP.

COVID-19 boosters & flu vaccine

  • Everyone aged 50 and over is currently able to receive a booster and a flu jab.
  • Many people experiencing homelessness are at increased risk, meaning they are eligible for the autumn booster under current guidance.
  • This year's autumn flu and COVID-19 vaccine programmes will start on the 11th September 2023 (pushed forward, following the identification of a new Covid variant).
  • Those most at risk from winter illness - including health and social care staff and carers, those who care clinically vulnerable and those aged 65 and over, will be able to access a Covid vaccine in September.

Workforce vaccination

  • Frontline social care workers continue to be eligible for the autumn COVID-19 booster vaccine and flu vaccines.
  • People working on the frontline to support people experiencing homelessness are encouraged to take up the offer of vaccination to protect themselves and those they are supporting this winter.

Further Advice and Resources

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