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Where to Buy COVID-19 Tests Despite the Low Supply in Australia?

Where to Buy COVID-19 Tests Despite the Low Supply in Australia?

, by Aussie Pharma Direct, 5 min reading time

While we've all become seasoned pros at navigating the COVID-19 rollercoaster, Australia finds itself on a wild ride with the new JN.1 subvariant making waves. The recent surge in COVID-19 cases, fuelled by the emergence of the JN.1 subvariant, has caused the demand for COVID-19 tests has surged to new heights, leaving many Australians facing the daunting challenge of securing a rapid antigen test kit in the face of limited supplies.

What is this new COVID variant in Australia?

The JN.1 subvariant is a descendant of the Omicron variant BA.2.86, also colloquially known as Pirola. It first grabbed headlines in July 2023 when it made its debut on the global stage. This particular COVID-19 subvariant has piqued the interest of global health authorities and became a "variant of interest" according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

What sets JN.1 apart is its apparent knack for evading our immune defences more efficiently than its predecessors. While the global risk assessment for JN.1 remains relatively low, there is a cautious acknowledgment of its potential to contribute to an upswing in SARS-CoV-2 cases.

Are the COVID-19 variant symptoms different?

It is not known whether an infection with the JN.1 subvariant produces different symptoms compared to other variants, as indicated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In general, symptoms of COVID-19 remain relatively consistent across various variants. The hallmark symptoms of COVID-19 typically include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, body aches, headache, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose but it is also relatively easy to confuse the symptoms in that of influenza. 

Read more: Is it Flu or COVID? How to Know the Symptoms

Impact on COVID-19 test supplies

As the wave of COVID-19 infections swells across Australia, the surge in transmission rates is casting a ripple effect on the availability of crucial resources, particularly COVID-19 test supplies. With more people seeking testing, the accessibility of these tests is racing to catch up. Rapid antigen tests have become a go-to for many Aussies, offering a quick and convenient way to self-check their COVID-19 status.

While you can still snag COVID-19 tests at your neighbourhood stores and pharmacies, the real challenge is nabbing them before they vanish like hotcakes. As soon as these test kits hit the shelves, they're off the racks faster than you can say "G'day".

What happens to the free COVID test kits in Australia?

In most states and territories across Australia, the distribution of free RATs to eligible individuals is still ongoing. Eligibility typically includes those with concession cards and meeting certain criteria, however, it's crucial to note that there are specific cut-off dates for the free RATs programs in different regions:

  • Victoria - Concluded its free RAT program on December 31, 2023. Notably, even after the official end date, any remaining RATs in stock will still be distributed to the community through nominated sites until supplies run out. 
  • Australian Capital Territory (ACT) - Continues at ACT Government RAT collection centres until January 31, 2024.
  • Western Australia - WA’s free Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) distribution program has concluded.

So. Where to buy COVID tests in Australia?

With the scarcity of COVID tests becoming more noticeable due to the surge in COVID-19 cases, and the recent conclusion of Australia's Free Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) program, it's only natural that we find ourselves on the lookout for alternative solutions to access rapid antigen tests for at-home use or self-testing. The online hubs have become a friend for many, still offering a variety of COVID-19 testing kits, especially as brick-and-mortar options grapple with stock limitations. 

For Aussies, you don’t have to look far and beyond when it comes to buying COVID-19 test kits. Aussie Pharma Direct is one Australia’s trusted online platform for health and safety products. 

Among the notable offerings is the Sonictec COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test Kit, a reliable tool for rapid and accurate detection of the virus. Additionally, for those looking for comprehensive testing solutions, combo test kits such as the Sonictec Influenza A/B & COVID-19 Combo Rapid Test are also available on Aussie Pharma Direct, allowing you to screen for both COVID-19 and influenza A/B in a single test.

Shop the Sonictec RATs collection


The advantage of these online platforms lies not only in the accessibility of testing kits but also in the convenience of having them delivered directly to your doorstep. As stock availability fluctuates in physical stores, online options like Aussie Pharma Direct provide a reliable alternative, ensuring that individuals can secure the testing resources they need to monitor their health and the health of those around them.

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