COVID-19 Test Yellow Card

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“COVID-19 testing” has been going on since the start of the pandemic.

At the beginning the RT-PCR test was used.  Later, a Lateral Flow test was developed that could provide “on the spot” results.

It is important to understand that neither of these tests is capable of detecting the disease called “COVID-19” nor of being able to specifically identify an active infection of the “SARS-CoV-2” virus that causes the disease.  All the tests are able to determine is the presence of some viral DNA fragments that may indicate that the person taking the test has had the SARS-CoV-2 virus in their body at some point.  The tests cannot tell you if you are ill, or whether you are able to pass on the virus to anyone else.

Both the RT-PCR and Lateral Flow tests require the use of a swab inserted into the nasal passage and throat to collect a sample for testing.  The procedure is invasive and uncomfortable and done incorrectly can cause injury or harm.  In addition, the swab itself can cause adverse reactions if the person being tested is allergic to any of the materials or substances used in the swab.

With many people now forced into having COVID-19 tests on a regular basis in order to work or travel, it is also possible that adverse reactions can come about due to the cumulative effect of repeated testing.

The MHRA are therefore keen to hear from anyone who has had any kind of reaction to a COVID-19 test, so that they can monitor the situation and take action as necessary.

The Importance of Reporting

Reporting adverse reactions helps to improve medicines and medical devices such as swabs, to educate Health Care Professionals (HCPs) and the public on the safe use of medicines and medical equipment, and to prevent future harm to patients.

The MHRA Yellow Card scheme, is the official UK Government system for collecting and monitoring information on safety, suspected side effects or adverse events involving all medicines available on the UK market including COVID-19 tests.

Yellow Card reports have helped identify numerous important safety issues, many of which were not known about until the information was received.

Under-reporting is a common problem. Although health care professionals and carers use it regularly, the scheme relies heavily on voluntary contributions and is not very well known. Only about 10% of all suspected side effects are reported.

But anyone can submit a report – and that includes you! So, if a family member, friend, neighbour, student, teacher, parent, or yourself, have had a side effect no matter how small, please report it, as it will make medicines safer for everyone and help prevent future harm.

As the MHRA says – Every Report Counts!

Action Needed

How To Report A Side Effect or Adverse Reaction

There are 4 ways to report a COVID-19 test or vaccine side effect to the Yellow Card Scheme in the  UK.

1. Use the Online Yellow Card Form

You can click on the “Take Action” button below or visit

2. Use a Yellow Card form from a pharmacy or GP surgery

All pharmacies and GP’s surgeries have Yellow Card scheme forms available to pick up.  The form contains details of where to send it once you have filled it in.

3. Call the Yellow Card Call Centre

If you prefer to speak to someone in person, you can call the Yellow Card scheme helpline on 0800 731 6789

4. Send an E-mail

You can email the scheme to report a reaction at 

What information should be included in a Yellow Card report?

As much information as possible should be supplied on the Yellow Card report to enable a full assessment by the MHRA, but you should not be put off sending in a Yellow Card report if all the information is not available at the time of reporting. It only takes about 5 minutes to do.

  1. Details about the patient and their doctor.
  2. Details about the suspected drug(s)/vaccine(s) they were taking, including self-medication and complementary remedies, any medical conditions or allergies, if pregnant or breastfeeding etc.
  3. Details of the side effect experienced such as nausea, dizziness or something more serious. (You can report multiple side effects)
  4. How long the suspected side effect lasted for and what the outcome was (if known).
  5. Details of the individual completing the report i.e. their contact details

The MHRA may contact the individual completing the report for further details.

What Happens To This Information?

  • With your permission a copy of the report will be sent to your GP. (You can opt out)
  • You can view a summary of all the information you’ve provided and save a copy. (online)

If You Need Help

If you need help completing the form, you can call the Yellow Card helpline on freephone 0800 731 6789 or ask a healthcare professional.