In Oxford, CVS is currently out of stock of in-home COVID-19 testing in the store as well as online, and Walmart, which was previously out of stock, has limited inventory. Walgreens currently has limited stock available online and in store, as does Kroger.
The increase in Delta variant cases over the past month has helped increase demand for these home tests. Local testing facilities and pharmacies that have administered tests since the start of the pandemic are still available for those looking for a COVID-19 test, but the convenience of home testing makes it more accessible to a wider range of people.
Dr. Beau Cox, executive director of the Mississippi’s Pharmacist Association, says “the biggest benefit of home testing is convenience. According to Cox, many people are more likely and able to buy a test for $ 20 to $ 30 rather than going to a clinic at set times and having to pay a fee.
Grace Bennett, who was looking for a quick result to determine whether or not she had contracted COVID-19, bought her test from Walgreens three weeks ago. Bennett said the test was easy to use and provided him with his results within 10 minutes. The test she bought cost $ 20 and came with two tests.
Dr Hubert Earl Spears, who works at the University of Mississippi Health Clinic, said home testing makes it easier for people without health insurance to get tested.
“For people with health insurance, most tests done in facilities are covered by their insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. Most home tests purchased over the counter are not covered, ”Spears said. “Most home tests bought over the counter are not covered. If one does not have any type of insurance coverage, over-the-counter home testing may be the cheapest option. “
Retailers across the country are facing an increase in demand for home COVID-19 testing following the White House announcement on September 9 of President Biden’s nearly $ 2 billion rapid test plan.
On the White House website, he says the plan is “to improve access to rapid tests for all consumers, major retailers that sell COVID-19 rapid tests – Walmart, Amazon and Kroger – will offer to sell. these tests at cost price for the next month. ”
As part of the national six-fold plan, President Biden is calling for these tests to be sold up to 35% less. The plan “will also expand the number of retail pharmacy sites across the country where anyone can get tested for free through the HHS free test program to 10,000 pharmacies.”
The increased demand for home testing, however, has strained businesses and manufacturers alike, leading to shortages nationwide. Ron Gutman, CEO of Intrivo, a test maker, told USA Today that “there is a big shortage in the market right now in all areas. We have many more requests than ever before. “
Retail chains like CVS are responding to supply shortages for home testing by limiting the number of tests a person can purchase. CVS limits customers to purchasing four tests in-store and six online. A CVS spokesperson told Insider the limitation is the result of Abbott’s manufacturing delays.
“In midsummer, noting the declining incidences of infections across the country before the delta surge, Abbott misjudged the demand resulting from the delta surge and ceased production of its product,” said Spears.
Abbott has been a major producer of the antigen test with its Binax Now product, according to Spears.
Abbott has since resumed production, but, in an email to CNN, Abbott spokesperson John Koval said: CDC guidelines called for a re-prioritization of testing. “
Koval says there will continue to be supply shortages in the coming weeks, but “we are working with our customers to make sure testing gets to where it is most needed and we are ramping up the pace.”