Meijer is the first to give customers free at-home COVID-19 PCR tests
Meijer has announced that its retail pharmacy will be the first to offer free, at-home COVID-19 PCR tests to customers.
In partnership with a testing company called eTrueNorth, Meijer will be providing home PCR tests for pickup at the store. Customers will first have to register for a test online and, after filling out an assessment, will receive a voucher which can be redeemed for a test at a Meijer location. Customers conduct the nasal swab test at home and return the completed test kit to a Meijer pharmacy location, where it is then sent off for analysis. Results are available between 48 and 72 hours after dropping off the test.
The PCR test, named for the polymerase chain reaction technique used to get the test results, is considered the gold standard in COVID-19 testing, as its accuracy is near 100 percent. The other major type of COVID-19 test, the antigen test, generates much faster results than the PCR test but can be less accurate when used by people with low viral loads in their system.
The free at-home COVID-19 tests recently provided by the U.S. Federal Government in conjunction with the U.S. Postal Service are at-home antigen rapid tests.
Other options for free COVID-19 testing at pharmacies appear to stop short of offering free at-home testing. Walgreens, for instance, offers three types of free drive-thru testing online — PCR, rapid molecular and rapid antigen — but on the same website sells at-home PCR test kits for between $99 and $125. Additionally, the website informs customers on how to file a reimbursement claim with their insurance provider for the at-home tests if they are insured, and notes that, due to the Omicron wave of the novel coronavirus, slots for drive-thru testing are extremely limited.
There have also been issues of scarcity with at-home PCR tests at retail pharmacies over the past few months. Even Amazon was having trouble securing the tests in December, and limited customers to purchasing no more than 10 at-home PCR tests according to NBC News. Walgreens instituted a four-kit purchase limit and CVS a six-kit limit.
- Meijer To Provide Free At-Home PCR Tests for COVID-19 – Meijer
- What’s the difference between a PCR and antigen COVID-19 test? – UMass Chan Medical School
- USPS Releases Update as Free COVID Tests From Government Begin Arriving at Homes – NBC Chicago
- COVID-19 testing – Walgreens
- Amazon, Walgreens and CVS limit Covid-19 tests per customer as case numbers soar – NBC News
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What will Meijer get out of its free PCR test offer? How do you expect Meijer’s competitors to respond?