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Covid test kits in Europe

I was wondering if Covid test kits are easily available for purchase in Europe, and in our case, specifically Italy. (I am referring to the non-proctored kits for self monitoring.)

I am making my packing list and trying not to over do the number of items I bring for "what if" scenarios.

Posted by
2267 posts

Yes. Pharmacies will have them, and you'll pay less than half of what you would in the US.

Posted by
8651 posts

Curious why less than 1/2 of free is a deal? :)
Honestly, I would bring some with me, especially for Italy simply because their quarantine requirements are so strong. The value of convenience overtakes the small space in your suitcase. I would want to test a few times mid trip just for my own peace of mind.

Posted by
2267 posts

Carol, having exhausted the 2 x 4 government allotment (I had the flu, with the oh-so-modern new symptom of covid paranoia), I'm not aware of continuing sources for free home tests.

Maybe you could enlighten me?

Posted by
27435 posts

Washington DC has about eight locations where you can pick up free self-test kits, and local libraries have free kits that you self-administer and then drop in a pick-up box. I know we are not unique, but this is probably more likely to be happening in large cities, I would guess.

Posted by
130 posts

Scudder - Thank you for the reply. Exactly the info I was looking for.

Carol - yes I think that is good advice, and I am bringing some with me. While debating just how many kits to bring, this information keeps me on a reasonable track, since I tend to be an over planner for all that can go wrong. Perhaps in my case, this question was just as appropriate for the packing forum. :)

Posted by
8651 posts

@Sudder
My local library has free tests out on table for people to simply pick up. My state (Washington) will send me tests overnight upon request. My health care provider (Kaiser) allows for two free tests to picked up a month. I am sorry that your area is not as well resourced.

Posted by
2267 posts

Carol and Avraven, you are both fortunate, indeed. It's always good to keep in mind that one's privileges aren't universal truths.

Posted by
4946 posts

oh-so-modern new symptom of covid paranoia
Hah, yes, I have had that symptom since the beginning of this year's worse-than-normal allergy season!

For packing, I do love that the free US government tests are in a smaller box. Still, to your point, Lisuza, the packing space adds up for masks, tests and hand sanitizers. I'm bringing 3 or 4 test for each of my trips, depending on length: 1 to test a few days prior to my return and 2 in case I need them in a symptom (actual or paranoia driven) or quarantine situation. I could envision needing more, but like you, trying not to go too crazy on the worst what ifs.

Posted by
4946 posts

My health care provider (Kaiser) allows for two free tests to picked up a month
I'll have to look into that. I've not seen free tests at my library or any such place, but then I'm in a suburb, not in the city.

Posted by
1856 posts

It seems that my county has gone the other direction. Plenty of places to get tested in person. Very little test kit distribution.

If you have employer provided health insurance or a health plan from the exchange they should reimburse for test kits. At least that’s what I read earlier this year.

Costco has the flowflex self test kits. 5 pack for $33 shipped.

https://www.costco.com/flowflex-at-home-covid-test-kit%2c-5-test-pack.product.100825502.html

Posted by
111 posts

Lisuza, I'm in this mode myself ... I'm taking the tests out of the bulky boxes and putting ones of the same make in a single ziploc bag with the instructions.

Posted by
97 posts

If applicable, Medicare announced those with Part B coverage can get 8 free test kits per month picked up at drug stores.

Posted by
11526 posts

Be sure to check the expiration date. I found it surprisingly short, at least for the ones the Feds and state were providing free.
The ones I have expire between June and early Aug.

Posted by
98 posts

The covid tests are all over Europe. If you are taking Binax proctored tests do not open them beforehand. The proctor will make sure the test has not expired and has not been opened.

Posted by
4946 posts

It seems that my county has gone the other direction. Plenty of places to get tested in person. Very little test kit distribution.
San Francisco may prefer in-person testing so that they have visibility into results and trends.

Posted by
4600 posts

CWsocial is onto something, there are now suspicions voiced by British health officials that rates seem artificially low because so many people are doing DIY testing and they never hear about the results.

Posted by
381 posts

I have some from on/go with expiration on the box showing Mar 2022 and another with Feb 2022. I went to their website, www.letsongo.com, and found that the expiration dates can be extended for 3 months.

But - depending on when you got these, their newer boxes have a 9 month shelf life. They have a link to a document that you can use to check the lot number to see if you have the ones with an expiry date that can be extended or not.

Posted by
14285 posts

"I'm taking the tests out of the bulky boxes and putting ones of the same make in a single ziploc bag with the instructions."

@KentChristine - FWIW, I emailed Abbott/Binax to ask if there was a reason to keep the OTC tests in the box. I emphasized this was not the proctored tests but the self-test kits.

Their reply:

"Thank you for contacting Abbott Technical Services. Unfortunately, the test kit components can not be removed from the packaging until you are ready to start testing. Doing so could result in damage to the components or an invalid test result. Please keep the test kit box intact until you are ready to begin testing."

Not sure why and I did not follow up to ask for specifics.

You should do what is comfortable for you but thought I'd let you know what they said.

Posted by
111 posts

Pam, that is a very good point re: not shaking them up or damaging the card or the vials ... I think maybe I'll just double them up in the boxes to save some space.

Posted by
267 posts

We were in several grocery stores and a couple of pharmacies in Italy, all of them had Covid tests available. Saw them for 4 Euro in Bologna.
If you are brave the vendors (!) outside the train station in Milan were selling Covid tests - yikes.!