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Chemist Warehouse flags when rapid test shortage will end

·2-min read
A gloved hand using one of the rapid anitgen tests to identify covid-19 and the exterior of a Chemist Warehouse store.
Chemist Warehouse has flagged that the rapid antigen test shortage should be over by next week. (Source: Getty)

As the Omicron variant spreads throughout the world, rapid antigen tests have never been in higher demand.

But Aussies have found it tough trying to get their hands on the at-home test kits with demand surging.

Chemist Warehouse chief operating officer Mario Tascone told Sunrise this morning the shortage wouldn’t last too long.

“By week’s end and early next week we’ll have lots of good supplies,” he said.

“I think it should be alleviated but it does not fix a problem today. Today is a problem and it is a bit of a lucky dip at that.”

Tascone added that the lack of supply had to do with public holidays, shipping delays and unprecedented demand.

“There are planes arriving each day, we’ve got stock due to our Sydney stores this afternoon, and we hope to replenish our Victorian, Queensland, Tasmanian and South Australian stores later tomorrow,” he said.

This comes as pressure builds on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to make the rapid antigen tests free to relieve demand on testing clinics.

Both New South Wales and Victoria have flagged that they will be providing free tests to the community, while the Federal Government has remained steadfast that it will not.

Tascone joined calls for the Federal Government to help more Australians get hold of the tests.

“A $5 saving over a five pack is a significant saving for most families, but I would reaffirm that the Federal Government … should be working out how to get these into the hands of … disadvantaged people for free. With some sort of subsidy at least,” Tascone said.

On Monday, Morrison told Sunrise the Government “can't just go around making everything free”.

“We have to live with this virus. This isn't a medicine, it's a test. And so there's a difference between those two things,” he said.

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