Survey finds price a problem for many Canadians wanting COVID-19 rapid tests

Cost a barrier for rapid test

A new survey says more than a million Canadians would pay $100 or more for a COVID-19 rapid antigen test.

The survey from Finder.com found that cost is a barrier for a million Canadians and 4.5 million Canadians say they rely on free tests, while some 29 per cent, or just over 9 million Canadians indicate they would pay $5 to $25 on a rapid antigen test.

Nicole McKnight, manager at Finder.com, says with schools open to young children who are unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated, anxiety among parents, the elderly, and the immunocompromised, is high, resulting in demand for rapid antigen tests skyrocketing since the Omicron variant took hold in Canada back in December.

“Traffic to Finder’s Covid-19 testing page has increased by 592 per cent. There is clearly a massive demand for these tests and it makes sense that certain ‘at-risk’ groups in the community would want to obtain a personal supply of rapid antigen tests to keep their families and friends safe.”

The survey found that reasons to buy tests are varied, but most want instant results or peace of mind.

There have already been reports and complaints of price gouging by some outlets selling rapid antigen tests in B.C.

“While the federal government has promised an additional 140 million rapid tests to the province in January, provinces have cited delays in receiving federal shipments. These delays could mean those relying on free tests could be left empty-handed, we do anticipate demand to continue to outpace supply in the near term” says McKnight.

Suppliers are also sounding the alarm about potential scams and how Canadians should do a little research before buying a test to avoid being fooled.

“Sadly we are hearing countless reports of sellers willing to exploit frustrated shoppers looking for Covid-19 tests. Typically these people will run a scam where they will offer tests, accept payment, and then stop all communication,” says Mike Schwarz of MyZone Health.

“It’s important to buy from a reputable supplier, especially when spending more on bulk orders, and always be sure to first check the product is in stock and ready to ship to you before you click to purchase.”

Daniel Gurman, President of Go Test Rapide, explains how to source tests for those looking for more official and accurate results, whether for travel or other reasons.

“While the testing focus of the Omicron wave is mainly rapid antigens for quick answers, no doubt there will be millions of Canadian travellers in the coming months who will require official results for their upcoming 2022 trips. We encourage Canadian travellers and other groups who need highly accurate rapid antigen or PCR tests, and speedy verifiable results, to use services that provide the help and guidance of a medical professional. This way Canadians don’t experience any at-home testing errors that can put their plans at risk.”

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