Pharmacies to ‘open more spaces for free Covid tests before Christmas’

The demand for ‘free Covid tests before Christmas’ is at such a level that pharmacies are preparing to open more spaces.

Infarmed is also due to meet with pharmacy representatives and distributors to guarantee that supplies (even of cheap ‘self tests’) do not run out before December 25.

So far, this month has seen pharmacies carry out more tests (both PCR and antigen) than at any other time during the pandemic.

People have been taking government advice to ‘test before family events’ (or other social gatherings) – but there is a degree of frustration in that many pharmacies have still not signed up to the ‘four-free-tests-per-month-per-citizen’ programme.

A list of pharmacies and laboratories offering free testing, can be found here 

The problem with it is that some areas are completely without cover: citizens are faced with travelling tens of kms to reach a pharmacy offering free tests, and with poor public transport, this is often totally impractical.

In these instances, people end up spending a minimum of €25 for an antigen test (good for only 48-hours).

For someone with a relative or loved one in an old people’s home, this weighs heavily on monthly budgets (as self-tests are not acceptable for such situations).

The government’s decision to refuse access to multiple venues without a negative test taken at a pharmacy (or registered laboratory) has seen well over 2 million tests undertaken between December 1-17, reports SIC.

Almost one million tests were taken in the week between December 10-16.