Tuesday, January 18

Coronavirus. Is there a risk of missing self-tests?

The scarcity of self-tests during periods of strong screening had already been visible the week just before Christmas. 58% of pharmacies then no longer had self-tests for sale, indicated on December 26 the spokesperson for the Union of pharmacists’ unions Gilles Bonnefond. Since then, establishments have replenished their stocks, but after the holiday season, demand remains high.

Self-tests at the heart of the new screening rules

This success can be explained in particular by the new screening protocol in force since January 3: for the vaccinated, in the event of contact, it is indeed necessary to carry out an antigen or a PCR immediately then carry out two self-tests on D + 2 and D + 4. And in schools, the same goes for children in the event of a positive in their class.

However, the number of positive tests is only increasing: Wednesday, more than 330,000 cases of Covid-19 were identified. Excluding self-tests, between December 27, 2021 and January 2, 2022, more than 8 million RT-PCR and antigen tests were performed.

Of course, the self-test kits are now sold in supermarkets and at least until January 31. “Between 1.5 and 2 million” would have been sold between December 28 and January 2, according to the IRI institute, cited by LSA. But are the stocks sufficient for all that?

Not enough stocks in pharmacies or supermarkets?

With this new screening protocol, concerns reign on the side of pharmacies. “Pharmacists did not anticipate the massive orders for self-tests which will arrive today”, was worried Monday on Franceinfo Carine Wolf-Thal, President of the National Order of Pharmacists.

“We have enough self-tests”, meanwhile assured Monday the Minister of Health Olivier Véran at the microphone of France Inter. However Tuesday afternoon, a letter posted on Twitter and addressed to inspectors of the National Education and to the directors of establishments, indicated that the families can have difficulties to obtain in pharmacy the self-tests to be used to practice the tests on D + 2 and D + 4 ”, and invited them to take their children for an antigen test in a pharmacy, or a PCR.

In the 12th arrondissement of Paris, a supermarket was robbed in self-tests in barely half a day on Wednesday. A little further on, a pharmacist lamented that same evening still not being able to access the platform to distribute the free self-tests for children and those vaccinated included in the protocol for D + 2 and D + 4.

8 million more self-tests next week

To deal with the problem, “eight million self-tests will be distributed next week in pharmacies and that’s not counting Chinese brands,” said Gabriel Attal, government spokesman, on Wednesday, indicating the current presence of “Three million self-tests available from pharmacies, one million from wholesalers”.

We can also imagine that, with the great periods of celebrations and family or friendly gatherings having passed, the demand for self-tests should gradually decrease.


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