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COVID tests are in short supply this holiday season: Families worried as gatherings set for next week

It’s the holiday season. And that means more COVID testing before large gatherings. Thanksgiving is days away, and last year there were long lines to get tests. Thanks to technology that makes at-home testing possible – there isn’t a line.

But there is some trouble getting those at-home tests. Especially in some places.

“I’m just used to testing now,” Janis Alpine told the Associated Press. She is retired and getting together with family members this week for Thanksgiving. “Even though he’s vaccinated, just getting a little bit sick is probably not the best thing for a 97-year-old.”


Local pharmacies are frequently running out of tests. Especially since school resumed in September. So people like Alpine are buying several at a time, which complicates the stocking issues that drug stores and pharmacies have experienced.

CVS and Walgreens say they are ready across the U.S. They have extra COVID tests in stock and should be able to handle whatever demand comes along this week.

However, smaller chains and even local pharmacies aren’t as lucky. “Unfortunately, we’re still going to be playing catch-up until next year or until demand subsides,” Neil Sehgal, a health policy specialist at the University of Maryland told the AP.

The entire shortage, which was first reported over the summer, has resulted in the Food and Drug Administration to approve more tests for sale.

Experts say that it should be sorted out by January 1, 2022. However, it could all make the holiday season a bit of a challenge.

The best advice? Shop early, don’t buy too many, and be ready to check several stores or locations in an effort to find a test if you need one.



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