With increased COVID-19 test kit demand across the country, both private and public entities have a hard time keeping supply with demand. The shortage might be due to current supply and logistic chain breaking, raw material shortages, or bad management of existing resources.
Recently, social media images and news reports have been filled with lines of cars, wrapped for miles and miles, in search of the elusive COVID-19 test. Similarly, pharmacies and retailers struggle to keep the tests on their shelves as the Omicron variant rages across the country.
Increase in Testing
As the holiday travel season approaching, and later as families prepared to return to work and school in the New Year, the need for testing understandably increased.
Across the country, hundreds of thousands of people were desperately seeking test results to travel, gather with friends and family, or later return to their daily lives of work and school. This proved difficult as many federal testing sites open at the onset of the pandemic have since shuttered.
Many local governments and municipalities have tried to meet the demand but have fallen short in most cases as they struggle to get their hands on needed testing supplies. Additionally, companies have stepped up their testing procedures for employees due to their State mandates that force individuals to get tested or vaccinated.
A Shortage of Raw Materials
While there are several reasons being given for the shortage of testing supplies, one, in fact, is the lack of raw materials needed to manufacture them.
According to CNBC.com and Matt Regan, president, and CEO of medical goods distributor Code 1 Supply, “the supply of kit components dried up over the previous seven to 10 days.” Regan also shared that business partners have told him there’s a shortage of raw materials on their ends as well. Logistic challenges are playing a part in the supply crunch as well. Finally, Regan explained how distributors are prioritizing federal orders over other buyers (i.e. private pharmacies or local governments).
Underestimating the Need
While it may seem encouraging that federal test orders are being prioritized, the trouble is that the Federal government underestimated the number of tests needed. Recently, President Biden told the nations’ governors in a virtual meeting that his administration should have done more to speed up the availability of rapid testing. Although he has pledged for 500 million kits to be distributed this month, many are pointing out that this is too late to address the holiday need. “These are all steps the administration should have made a while ago,” according to Dr. Robert Wachter, Chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of California.
One of the states experiencing the biggest demand for COVID-19 tests in Florida- particularly over the holidays. However, it recently came out that the Florida Government allowed nearly one million test kits to expire- rather than distributing them to testing sites. Since this revelation, the FDA has now extended the expiration date on these kits for a second time. According to The Hill, “a Jan. 7 letter to the FDA obtained by the Herald, Abbott Diagnostics, the company that made the kits, proved that if stored at room temperature, the kits were stable for 15 months, a timeline that allowed for the additional three-month extension.” While it is not clear why or how this happened, the hope is that the nearly one million tests will help meet the current testing demands with this extension.
The COVID Test Conundrum
As we are approaching the second anniversary of the pandemic, we are collectively still learning, adapting, and doing the best we can. The highly contagious Omicron variant in a world trying to stay open presents its challenges. Nevertheless, the science remains the same- vaccines, boosters, face masks, social distancing, and frequent testing are our best line of defense in helping to prevent the spread.
Even with this high demand Medek is able to provide test kits both to individuals and businesses nationwide. Call today to get your order in!