Frustrations build as Gold Coast rapid antigen test stocks disappear

If you’ve managed to find a rapid antigen test kit on the Gold Coast in the last few days, consider yourself a lucky person.

Stocks of the at-home testing kits have run dry right across the city after the majority of COVID-19 testing sites closed their doors over the New Year’s long weekend.

Chemists have reported their phones ringing off the hook from local residents desperate to find stock. However, most stores have been totally cleared out and are awaiting more deliveries.


Half a million kits are due to be rolled out in Queensland in the coming days.

The Queensland Government also confirmed on Monday it had ordered another 18 million tests but it is unclear exactly when they will be available in the community.

Chemist Warehouse Director Mario Tascone said they would be restocking shelves in the coming days but he didn’t expect tests to be there for long.

“We hope to replenish [Queensland] stores later in the day tomorrow,” he told The Today Show on Tuesday.

“We stocked most of our stores pretty much with half a million kits across the country on the weekend and they disappeared within a matter of hours.

“No doubt that will happen again.”

Mr Tascone said he was hopeful things would start to look better in a week from now.

“We have good healthy stock coming day after day,” he said.

“I think what’s caught everyone on a hop over the last week is these public holidays back to back.

“It’s very hard to book transports, very hard to book a lot of logistics at this time of the year but now with these holidays over I think we’ll get some good momentum.

“We’ve just got to get through this awkward period of the next seven days.”

It comes amid growing calls for rapid antigen tests to be made free by the federal government, similar to moves in many other countries across the globe.

Labor has backed the idea but the Prime Minister has ruled it out.

Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers said it was vital something was done.

“We can’t have a situation where people at their most vulnerable and their most contagious, are wandering around shopping centres looking for tests that don’t exists and if they do, they’re getting ripped off,” Mr Chalmers told The Today Show.

“If they don’t then they’re being left undiagnosed which is leaving their co-workers and their loved ones more vulnerable.”