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COVID-19 – The dreaded stock-out has indeed taken place. With fears linked to the 5th wave of Covid-19 and the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, the French rushed to self-tests. Now, 58% of pharmacies can no longer provide it, according to the spokesperson for the Union of Community Pharmacists Unions (USPO), Gilles Bonnefond, interviewed by the JDD Saturday 25 December.
He specifies that “since December 15, pharmacies have sold as many self-tests as the last five months” and deplores a situation “under tension” in pharmacies but also among wholesalers who also face supply problems.
This shortage of self-tests was expected by the Ministry of Health and by professionals. Indeed, the French have been encouraged on numerous occasions to be tested before meeting their loved ones for the holidays and to favor this solution rather than PCR or antigen tests in order to avoid a tidal wave in laboratories and pharmacies. Result: demand is exploding, nearly 80,000 self-tests were sold last week.
Replace self-test with antigen
But the manufacturers were taken aback, points out Philippe Besset, president of the Federation of Pharmaceutical Syndicates of France (FSPF), questioned by the Huffpost just before Christmas. The manufacturers “mobilized themselves to provide the maximum number of self-tests”, and the pharmacies “adapted the orders”, but the efforts were insufficient.
To compensate for the lack, Michel-Édouard Leclerc, CEO of the brand of the same name, deplored on Franceinfo Thursday, December 23 the ban on selling self-tests, only available in pharmacies, in stores. “We have it in stock but we are not allowed to sell it”, he regretted. Same appeal was made by Lidl. They have still not been heard by the government.
However, do not panic too much. Also interviewed by the JDD the president of the National Union of Medical Biologists François Blanchecotte assures us that if the self-tests are out of order, “there is no problem of stock on the antigenic tests”, which are also deemed to be more reliable than the self-tests.
Unlike self-tests, PCR and antigen are reimbursed for those vaccinated, ie more than 90% of the population. PCR tests are the most reliable and the result is obtained in a few hours in the laboratory.
See also on The HuffPost: In intensive care and on oxygen, this non-vaccinated evokes his awareness