Free COVID-19 Rapid Tests Will Be Available In Quebec Pharmacies Monday

Distributors say the first 200,000 kits have been shipped out.

Deputy Editor
Free COVID-19 Rapid Tests Will Be Available In Quebec Pharmacies Monday

As the Omicron variant surges across Quebec, health experts have pointed to rapid tests as one of the tools the public can use to try to stay safe from rising case counts and protect others. And those kits will be available at select pharmacies tomorrow — while supplies last.

In a news release issued Sunday, the Association québécoise des distributeurs en pharmacie (AQDP) said more than 200,000 kits would be available around Quebec on Monday, December 20 — the first of some 800,000 kits the Quebec government said would be available for free by the start of the holiday season.

In total, the province plans to distribute about 4.2 million COVID-19 rapid screening tests to more than 1,900 pharmacies in Quebec. The AQDP said the first shipment of tests had arrived at its seven distribution centres in the last 48 hours, and several hundred people are involved in the operation to get the testing kits shipped out quickly.

"We anticipate strong demand across Quebec and are fully aware of the challenges associated with limited supplies," said Albert Falardeau, president of the AQDP.

In other parts of Canada, demand for rapid test kits has sometimes outstripped supply. In Ontario, massive queues were reported at some provincial liquor stores where kits were being given out.

The AQDP said more rapid tests would be distributed to pharmacies across the province every day through December 23.

Last week the Association québécoise des pharmaciens propriétaires (AQPP) said people won't have any luck visiting or calling a pharmacy about getting test kits before December 20.

"Avoid calling the pharmacy lab," the AQPP said. "Listen to the greeting message or check your pharmacy's website or social media for specific procedures or inventory status. Each pharmacy owner will organize the distribution according to their reality."

The AQPP advises checking pharmacy signage in order to find out if kits are available or not. It recommends starting with your regular pharmacy. So if there's a pharmacy that already has a record in your name, go there first — but only if you have no symptoms of COVID-19.

Quantities will be limited to one kit — which contains five tests — per person per month. You must be at least 14 years old to buy the kit, and you should also remember to bring your health insurance card with you.

The limit applies to all pharmacies, meaning you can't bounce from pharmacy to pharmacy to pick up more than one kit per month.

If you're not sure how to use the kit, the AQPP says there will instructions on the box. The Quebec government's "rapid home testing" web page also has a video explaining how to administer the test.

This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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