Pharmacies’ Covid-19 self-test stock recovered following shortages

Pharmacies’ Covid-19 self-test stock recovered following shortages
Credit: Belga

Stocks of Covid-19 self-tests in Belgian pharmacies have recovered following a sudden surge in demand during the weekend.

It should once again be possible to get the rapid tests at Belgian pharmacies after some ran out of stock as the number of tests being bought and carried out increased from around 3,000-4,000 a day to around 14,000 during the weekend.

“There were more rapid tests done over the weekend than pharmacists had probably estimated. But we are assuming that these gaps will be filled today,” Georges Verpraet of the Belgian Pharmaceutical Association (APB) told Belga news agency.

“In any case, we have had no signals that there would be chronic problems with deliveries,” he added.

This was mirrored by the Flemish Pharmacists’ Network (VAN), which said all problems regarding low stocks should now be solved.

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“Normally, everything should stabilise again soon. As far as I know, it should not be a problem to get a rapid test,” the VAN’s Managing director Hilde Deneyer said.

The soar in the demand for such tests can be explained, in part, by the fact that people with Covid-19 symptoms can get tested at pharmacies, rather than having to go to a general practitioner, as of 1 November.

Many people getting tested had a simple cold, while others were getting tested as a result of a fear of rising cases in Belgium, according to Deneyer.

Meanwhile, the expansion of the use of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST), which resulted in an increase in the number of tests being bought at pharmacies in Brussels earlier this month, is also thought to be behind the surge in demand.

Finally, this weekend was an extended weekend, and took place during the autumn break, meaning more people would be getting tests for travel purposes. 

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