British Columbians will soon be able to get their hands on COVID-19 rapid tests from pharmacies free of charge.
On Wednesday, the Ministry of Health announced people over 70 years of age will be able to get free rapid antigen test kits from B.C. pharmacies as soon as Friday. Each kit contains five tests, and people will be able to get a kit every 28 days.
“Once distribution has started and supply grows, a broadening to younger ages is expected to happen quickly and will be communicated via our government COVID-19 website,” the Ministry said in Wednesday's presentation.
“Individuals will present their BC Services Card at the pharmacy and be given their test kit free of charge.”
Since Dec. 13, the province has distributed 14.8 million rapid tests: to testing sites (1.5 million), long-term care homes (2 million), healthcare workers (1.7 million), rural and Indigenous communities (1 million), K-12 schools (2.7 million), post-secondary schools (1.9 million) and others.
Last week, the province announced additional distribution of rapid tests to those in K-12 schools, with students being able to take home tests.
The province has 7.4 million tests remaining in its inventory, and another 3 million are expected to come from the federal government every week for the next month.
“Increased test availability means that more members of the general population will be able to access tests to use to understand their own symptoms and illness and to take action to limit transmission to their friends, family and work, including those at higher risk,” the Ministry of Health says.