Demand for rapid COVID tests surges

As Covid-19 cases once again soar around the country, so to has the demand for Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) kits.

Research by Finder saw that almost a quarter of all Australians have purchased or plan to purchase an at-home Covid-19 RAT kit, but unfortunately there is an extreme shortage of kits, with almost all major pharmacies and service stations in metro areas out of stock.

Taylor Blackburn, personal finance expert at Finder, said Australians are desperate to get their hand on RAT kits leading up to Christmas.

“As COVID cases soar in NSW, many are nervous about passing the virus onto their nearest and dearest. Shoppers are taking matters into their own hands by stocking up on testing kits both for peace of mind of guests at a house party and to limit the risk of needing to isolate right before Christmas.”

Another matter addressed by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) is the cost of the kits, with Acting Secretary, Liam O’Brien, stating that some families might not be able to afford them.

“A single test can cost up to $20, if you’re lucky enough to find a chemist that still has them. That’s $100 for Mum, Dad and the three kids. That might be small change to the Prime Minister, but it’s out of reach for many families.”

O’Brien said that unions and business urged the Prime Minister to make RAT kits free back in October, but he didn’t do anything about it.

“Scott Morrison’s callous indifference to Australians who cannot afford the sky-high costs of Rapid Antigen Tests proves yet again that working people cannot trust this Prime Minister to be there when they need him.

“Mr Morrison says the tests are tax deductible. That’s fine if, like him, you can afford to pay the cost up front and wait around until tax time to get your money back, but it’s completely out of the question for most working Australians.”

O’Brien used America as an example, where they have made RATs free, while they remain inaccessible and unaffordable in Australia.

“Working people have been through two years of living hell with the Covid pandemic, made worse by Scott Morrison’s botched vaccine rollout. Australians need Covid tests before they travel to see elderly and at risk loved ones for Christmas. Mr Morrison’s failure on Rapid Antigen Testing could not come at a worse time.”

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