They were summer's hottest commodity, with tens of thousands of Australians searching far and wide for rapid antigen tests (RATs) to confirm that they had, indeed, caught COVID-19.
But, as case numbers have declined across the territory and supply makes its way into Canberra, pharmacies are finding that the pressure has eased.
Capital Chemist O'Connor pharmacy manager Grace Lee has noticed the demand for RATs steadying, but doesn't think that is necessarily due to fewer people requiring a test.
"Back in January, the situation was really bad. But now that we have a more steady supply, we are able to provide the tests to those who ask for them," she said.
The situation was dire. With over a thousand cases being reported daily, and day-long waits for PCR testing, the absence of RATs from pharmacy shelves became a serious problem for the territory.
But the influx of supply means the ACT is turning the corner.
This follows the federal government's Concession Card Holder scheme, which launched in January, enabling those with concession cards to access up to 10 free RATs every three months from pharmacies.
The Australian Pharmacy Guild's ACT branch president Simon Blacker said the program had been taken up widely across the ACT.
"As of last Friday, 73 out of 81 ACT pharmacies had started participating in the program. We're approaching 25,000 Canberrans who have accessed almost 130,000 RATs through the scheme, and it's only three weeks in."
Hawker pharmacist Sylvester Sein noted the concession card program had accounted for the majority of RATs leaving the shelves.
"We still have those people purchasing RATs privately, but we mainly have those part of the government scheme accessing the tests," he said.
With school also in its third week back, Mr Blacker said the stress on families wanting to have RATs on hand had eased due to schools handing them out.
"It's definitely helped to soften the demand for the tests; they were scarce, but are now plentiful, and that will have relaxed parents," he said.
Canberra families will be able to access two RATs per child up until the fourth week of term one. The decision on the provision of tests being continued beyond week four is expected by the end of the week.
Pharmacists are urging those who are symptomatic and seeking a RAT to arrange an alternative way of collecting the tests rather than purchasing in store.
The availability of RATs across the city can be checked on the Find a RAT website.
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