By Tamsin Brown • 11 December 2021 • 15:17
There are shortages of antigen tests in pharmacies in Malaga as demand has tripled due to people wanting to take COVID tests before attending Christmas gatherings.
The demand for rapid antigen tests has tripled in Malaga over the last few days, leading to shortages in pharmacies and making it difficult to get hold of them. It is expected that the demand for this type of test will increase even more in the run-up to Christmas, as people wish to know whether they are infected before attending social gatherings with friends and family.
Antonio Romero, chairperson for the Official College of Pharmacists of Malaga, confirmed the significant increase in the demand for antigen tests. “I didn’t have any tests from Monday to Friday. Now a batch has arrived and I hope that the situation will normalise soon and that there will be enough tests over the next few days because it is difficult to get them at the moment. The shortage we have had in my pharmacy has also happened in many others,” said the pharmacist, who also has data from his sister’s and mother’s pharmacies.
Antigen tests have been available at pharmacies since last July. The price varies, but they usually cost around 4.95 euros per test, or 20 euros for a box of five. So far, the month with the most sales was August, coinciding with the summer holiday period.
The demand for antigen tests decreased in September and October and began to rise again from mid-November. It is expected that in December the number of sales will be even higher than in August.
According to the pharmaceutical cooperative Cofares, the lower temperatures, which favor the proliferation of other illnesses with similar symptoms, such as the flu or the common cold; the rise in COVID cases registered in mid-November; and Christmas gatherings with friends and family are the main reasons for the increased demand for antigen tests. Some people take tests every three or four days and some companies have their employees take them every week.
Health professionals recommend taking the test only when there are symptoms, such as a cough, runny nose, fever, headache, and so on. If the test is taken when there are no symptoms, it is usually negative, but the person may simply be asymptomatic.
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Originally from London, Tamsin is based in Malaga and is a local reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering Spanish and international news.
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