BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The demand for COVID-19 tests at home is at an all-time high with cases steadily on the rise across the nation, causing pharmacies to sell large amounts of at-home testing kits.
This comes after President Joe Biden announced the free COVID-19 at-home tests to be made available in 2022 through mail services.
Local Ritch’s Pharmacy co-owner Rebecca Sorrell said she’s seeing a major movement for more people purchasing at home COVID-19 tests. She attributes this with increased travel during the holiday season and a rise in COVID-19 cases. The last two days, the pharmacy has seen its largest uptick of at-home COVID-19 test purchases.
“We’ve sold out each day. We get 100 in and they are gone kind of thing and it’s not a supply and demand issue as much as just wanting to know how many I should keep on the shelf. They are available but sometimes they have a delay because there is more interest much more than lets say last week,” Sorrell said.
Sorrell does have concerns with Biden’s distribution of the tests to homes in the New Year, due to supply chain issues already being felt.
Dr. Celeste Reese-Willis, a family medicine physician in Birmingham, said she supports of the federal government offering free COVID-19 tests, especially for people who are not able to travel to get a tested by a medical professional. Overall, she said the tests are reliable if they are correctly administered. She encourages people uncomfortable with performing a nasal swab to not take an at-home COVID-19 test.
“You may need to be the person that goes into a clinic and gets a professional to swab you. There is a certain amount of reliability on these tests if they are properly followed the instructions are whether or not that patient follows those instructions appropriately needs to be the deciding factor on hey do I go in and get a test or do I not,” Reese-Willis, said.
Reese-Willis added that if you have COVID-19 symptoms and you test negative with the at-home tests, you should get tested by a medical provider to confirm your results.