Quebec's program to provide free COVID-19 tests at participating pharmacies will continue — but not everyone gets access. The distribution of free tests will continue through March 31, 2024, only for those people considered high-risk, the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS) announced on Monday, March 26.
Since September 2021, over 131 million tests were distributed by the MSSS, 42 million of which were distributed by pharmacies.
Nearly 2,000 pharmacies are included in this plan, which is not offering free tests to just anyone due to the "favourable evolution of the situation over the last few months." This comes amid news that nearly every Canadian adult has been exposed in some way to COVID-19 antibodies, whether from vaccination or from infection.
The groups considered "high-risk" who will benefit from the extended free-test program include immunocompromised people, those over the age of 60, pregnant people and adults living with chronic illness.
Those who benefit from free medication through public health care (suck it, America) are also eligible to pick up free tests through next March. This group includes recipients of last-resort financial assistance, low-income seniors 65 and older, children and full-time students aged 18 to 25, according to the MSSS.
Distribution of free tests in schools and early childhood education centres will continue through the same timeline. For everyone else, free access in pharmacies to COVID-19 tests will end on May 15, 2023.
The MSSS also points out that, for everyone else, rapid test kits are available without an appointment from COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites.
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.