Breaking News
More () »

'They were gone within a day' | Pharmacists say rapid COVID tests are in high demand but short supply

Local pharmacies like Belew Drugs on Asheville Highway said they are struggling to keep at-home COVID tests in stock to meet the surge in demand.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — For many Americans, the hunt for a rapid COVID-19 test is frustrating right now. In East Tennessee, drugstore shelves are bare in many places.

Local pharmacies like Belew Drugs on Asheville Highway are struggling to keep the at-home COVID tests in stock for a long period of time.

"We've had a lot of interest in tests, a lot of phone calls in tests, and they have been hard to come by," said Samantha Boldin, a Belew Drugs pharmacist.

10News called multiple pharmacies, including Walgreens to Kroger. A majority of them said they had no at-home COVID-19 tests. Two Walgreens locations specified there hadn't been any tests in the last few weeks.

"We've had people tell us that they've looked and it's three or four weeks to get them online, or the stores are sold out. We get a lot of phone calls," Boldin said. "We probably got 20 to 30 tests last week and they were gone within a day."

She said it could be a while before more tests come in, so it's a relief when tests are finally shipped in.

"It's like Christmas again. It's a little surprise," Boldin said. "Then when somebody calls and we say, 'Yes, we have them,' they are gone very quickly."

She said people should only buy the at-home test kits when it is absolutely necessary.

"I would urge people, if you are not symptomatic, save those tests for the people who are," Boldin said.

The pharmacy said once it runs out of at-home test kits, people can still make an appointment for a PCR or antigen test. Boldin recommends calling your local pharmacy ahead of time if you try to buy a test.


Before You Leave, Check This Out