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Christmas rush among folks trying to find home COVID tests

Walgreens tells us the pre-holiday demand like before Thanksgiving could cause temporary shortages of the tests.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — As we approach Christmas more people are trying to find COVID testing. That's either those at-home testing kits or the more sophisticated PCR tests. But be aware of shortages and other options. 

Amidst the shopping, holiday cards, and all the other preparations for Christmas and New Year's and of course time with family and friends, the COVID concerns are still with us.

So there's the rush to get the home antigen 15-minute result test kits for 30 bucks or so. Michael Macevoy, who is Director of Pharmacy Services for the D'Youville - Hub Health Center, advises 'The home tests are fine. But if you do prove positive you should both contact your healthcare provider and you should refrain from attending any sort of gathering."

But now the shortages for those easier at-home tests. Walgreens tells us the pre-holiday demand like before Thanksgiving could cause temporary shortages of the tests as they work with suppliers to obtain more for customers. Others like Rite Aid and CVS are also trying to meet growing demand along with Tops Markets. 

And there's more on less as Macevoy said, "The supply chain is very complex right now and some of these variants are hitting abruptly. And I don't think that some of the manufacturers were able to upscale the way they would have liked to sell some of these tests."

So if those shelves run bare of test kits in the next couple of days, you still have the more expensive 100 dollar or so administered PCR tests at pharmacies or private labs. But they may require appointments and the results may take two, three days, or even longer with demand.

D'Youville and its Vital Pharmacy in the new HUB building on campus expect to get busier this week with their PCR tests with same-day service because of their partnership with a local lab. Again over a hundred dollars for them but they have the equipment in place to get the quickest results for PCR.

However again overall - if unsure - the CDC still maintains your best bet is still a vaccination with the booster. And Macevoy says that can be an easier, more effective option. 

"We're taking walk-ins all day. We handle many, many people who just walk into the pharmacy looking for a booster and we'd be happy to accept anybody who needs a booster."

The New York State Dept. of Health has COVID testing options including D'Youville. Erie County Health Department also has information. You can also check the websites for Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid.