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Looking to get a COVID test or booster shot now? Demand for both is high

Depending on where you go, you may have to wait days for a COVID test or to get your booster shot.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Demand for both COVID tests and vaccine boosters remain high. 

But, if you're looking to get either soon, you may have to wait. 

If you're looking to get a COVID-19 test right before Thanksgiving, and trying to save some money, you'll likely have to go with what's called a rapid antigen test, which is sold over the counter

There are also antibody tests, but those show whether someone had a previous infection. 

"The advantage of antigen tests are that the results could come back quite quickly, sometimes as short as 15 to 30 minutes. Of course, the down with antigen tests is they're not quite as sensitive as the PCR test," said Dr. Thomas Russo, of the University at Buffalo's Jacobs School of Medicine. 

PCR tests, which are needed to cross into Canada, can take a day or two, perhaps longer depending on where you go. 

"These tests are the ones that have been most widely used they are the most sensitive tests," Dr. Russo said. 

At some of the major pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens, 2 On Your Side did not find any COVID test appointments Wednesday; the only availability was later this week. 

There are always private testing agencies, but depending on where you go, you may have to pay if you don't have insurance.

The Erie County Health Department also offers COVID tests and booster shots.

On booster shot availability, we found appointments a week from now at county sites -- longer at some major pharmacies in the Buffalo area. Wegmans and Tops also offer vaccine booster shots. 

"The truth about the booster is that it doesn't need to happen immediately. If you schedule it a week from now, or even two weeks from now, the important thing is get it on the calendar so you can go ahead and be vaccinated," said Dr. Kevin Ban, the chief medical officer for Walgreens. 

Medical experts say it takes some time for the booster to do its job. 

"The booster shot starts to kick in after just a few days. However, your degree of protection continues to increase over the next few weeks to at least up to a month," Dr. Russo said.