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Quebec Pharmacists Explained What You Should Know About Free Rapid COVID-19 Test Rollout

The kits are set to be available on December 20.

Contributing Writer
Quebec Pharmacists Explained What You Should Know About Free Rapid COVID-19 Test Rollout

Earlier this week, the government announced that Quebecers would be able to access free rapid COVID-19 tests at 1,900 pharmacies across the province starting on Monday, December 20. Now, the professional owner-pharmacists association is providing more information on the rollout, including rules and details you should know.

"Tests will be distributed as we receive them, but they may not be available in all pharmacies in the first few days of the rollout. Participating pharmacies will be restocked continually in the coming weeks based on shipments from the federal government," says Benoit Morin, president of the Association québécoise des pharmaciens propriétaires (AQPP) in a press release.

The AQPP's press release goes on to list what it calls "essential information to consider before you go to the pharmacy prescription counter to get your test kit."

For starters, it says there's no use in visiting or calling a pharmacy about getting test kits before December 20.

"Avoid calling the pharmacy lab. 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," says the release.

It says to check 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.

"The goal is to get the tests before you have any symptoms," the AQPP says.

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.

If you get a positive result, you must make an appointment at a screening centre so your diagnosis can be confirmed with a molecular test.

The government expects the free pharmacy distribution to take place over a three-month period, says the AQPP, until the end of March.

According to Health Minister Christian Dubé, the province has "insisted" on receiving 10 million tests from the federal government, in proportion to the population.

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

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