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Many pharmacists are without corona rapid tests: “The question is and…

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Due to the sharply increased demand from people to be tested for the coronavirus at the pharmacist, many pharmacists are currently without rapid tests. It is a temporary shortage, according to the Flemish Pharmacists Network: the situation should be back to normal in the coming days.

In recent weeks, GPs in our country have repeatedly sounded the alarm. The pressure on them became too great, they said, because every now and then people came to call them to have a corona test taken for free. Especially in view of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST), negative tests for non-vaccinated people are of gold value. Negative tests are also still very important for travel.

To relieve some of the pressure on those general practitioners, those rapid tests can also be administered free of charge from Monday by pharmacists to returning travelers and symptomatic citizens. And that is immediately noticeable: many pharmacists are without stock and can therefore not take the test. “We notice that indeed,” says Hilde Deneyer, general director of the Flemish Pharmacists Network. “There is no shortage at the moment, but some pharmacists on duty are out of stock.”


According to Deneyer, this has to do with a combination of circumstances. “First, the demand for rapid tests and self-tests has increased enormously in recent days. Last week, an average of 3,000 were sold per day, now it is 14,000 per day. Of course, that has a lot to do with people who go on holiday. In addition, there is the fact that as of today antigen tests of symptomatic citizens and returnees can be administered by pharmacists. And it is also a holiday, which means that not all pharmacists are open. The pharmacists on duty are therefore very much questioned.”

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Deneyer recommends going to the website apotheek.be to go. “There you have the list of pharmacies on duty on the one hand and the list of the more than 2,400 pharmacies that administer antigen tests on the other. Then you know who to call in the hope of getting a test.” The general manager immediately dispels the concern. “The production of those tests continues, so there’s no reason to think we’re really going to have a shortage. Today is just a difficult day.”


Those antigen tests at pharmacists are rapid tests, which give a result within 15 to 30 minutes. You can use it for the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) and to travel to countries that request it.

From Monday, those tests can also be taken by pharmacists in people who show symptoms of a Covid infection and are older than six years. The same applies to travelers returning from a country or region with a high risk of infection. In both cases, the test is completely free. If you do not show any symptoms and have not returned from your trip, you can still visit a pharmacist. But then it is paid.

View the list of pharmacists where you can have the rapid test taken (provided they still have one in stock).

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