Amazon Limits At-home COVID-19 Test Kits Due to Surge in Demand

By Naveen Athrappully
Naveen Athrappully
Naveen Athrappully
Naveen Athrappully is a news reporter covering business and world events at The Epoch Times.
December 23, 2021 Updated: December 23, 2021

Amazon has restricted shoppers from purchasing more than 10 units of COVID-19 test kits following similar actions from other major retailers as the highly-transmissible Omicron variant is now reported to be the dominant strain in the United States.

As of Dec. 18, more than 73 percent of new infections are now from the Omicron variant, reported the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With 26.6 percent of total cases, the Delta variant has been pushed to the second position. As many people travel for the holidays, there has been an increase in demand for test kits to identify instances of infection.

Currently, the COVID-19 Test Collection Kit is reported to be unavailable on Amazon, while California-based iHealth Labs’ COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test is restricted to five units per individual. Besides e-commerce sites, queues are found at test sites and there’s a shortage of test kits in pharmacies.

According to multiple media outlets, an Amazon spokesperson has informed them that the company is facing shortages due to the sudden surge in demand, and that the platform is looking to secure more inventories from its partners.

Amazon has asked customers not to send samples from Wednesday onwards as they will not be shipped to laboratories. Moreover, delivery partner UPS has declared holiday schedules due to which shipments will be delayed.

CVS Health, Walgreens, and Walmart are also limiting the number of test kits customers can purchase at store and online.

Walgreens said that it was limiting eight units for online orders, and is allowing retail outlets to make their own decision based on existing inventories.

“We do have strong inventory levels nationally in store,” Walmart told Reuters. “However, inventory is more limited online depending on the zip code.”

CVS was restricting customers to six kits per individual. The company prioritizes availability in physical stores so products may be unavailable online.

As for Walgreens, the retailer said that COVID-19 test kits would be limited to four units per individual customer. “We’ve also seen an increase in demand for rapid OTC COVID-19 tests and are working with our suppliers to ensure customers have access to self-test kits through the holidays,” according to a press release issued by the company Tuesday.

On Dec. 21, President Biden promised that the federal government will purchase 500 million at-home test kits, which Americans can order online for free. Deliveries are expected to begin next month.

Amazon representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times.

Naveen Athrappully is a news reporter covering business and world events at The Epoch Times.