People Are Crowdsourcing Rapid Antigen Test Availability — Here’s Where You Can Find One

find a rat

Finding a rapid antigen test nowadays is like living in a really terrible real-life version of Where’s Wally? You know he’s out there somewhere, but which pharmacy could he be hiding in?

As the federal government has resolutely refused to make the tests free save for a select group of at risk people, instead prioritising the bottom line of healthcare retailers over the actual healthcare of citizens, people have had to take matters into their own hands and help each other out in trying to find the tests.

Already, the Instagram page Bondi Lines has acquired some 45,000 followers after pivoting from updating people on the queue lengths at bars in Bondi to the queue lengths of PCR testing clinics across the country.

They’ve since stopped posting round-the-clock updates about the expected wait times at clinics around the city due to the current lack of lines however they are still posting the locations of stores selling rapid antigen tests and how many they have in stock.

Using the information provided, The Latch was able to track down RATs at Priceline Pharmacy in Ashfield, so we can confirm that the service works.

In addition, the new website Find a Rat has been set up by a Melbourne software developer whose girlfriend drove all over the city trying to find a test.

Matt Hayward put the site together in a matter of hours to try to address the problems that people are having in locating tests. The website uses crowdsourced information that people share to the page, letting others know where tests are available.

“As a developer, I saw a problem and then I wanted to solve that,” Hayward told the ABC. “I [thought] do we really want a bunch of people that might have symptoms, might have COVID wandering around trying to find tests”.

RATs were designed to be brought in initially to ease the testing burden on PCR clinics but the at-home tests themselves have become a problem as the nation faces a shortage.

The ABC has reported that some vendors on food delivery apps have been seen selling tests for as much as $39.99 for a pack of two, allowing some desperate people to order them to their doors.

SEND, the virtual supermarket that advertises groceries delivered to your door in 10 minutes, has however come through with the goods. Demand for their services has exploded over the past few weeks as they appear to have a constant supply of rapid antigens and are able to deliver to people’s homes in a matter of minutes.

Other companies and groups have entered the fray of late to try and help people overcome the ongoing scarcity. Of these, Zoom2U, is a delivery service that has set up a RAT reallocation service where those with leftover kits can give to those in need. The service is mainly targeted as businesses, allowing organisations who might have ordered excess kits for work events to upload them to the service. Zoom2U will then pick up the kits and drop them off to someone who needs them, free of charge.

Founder Seve Orenstein says that he came up with the idea after sharing a post on LinkedIn offering some leftover rats from his office’s Christmas party.

“They were all immediately spoken for,” he said. “I am encouraging businesses to reach out if they have leftover tests, as we did, which Zoom2u can help to deliver same-day to those who need them – free of charge.”

That’s the kind of initiative we like to see.

Recently, both NSW and VIC have said that they’ve placed large orders for the tests and will seek to make them free to their citizens in the coming weeks. Until that happens, Aussies are having to rely on one another to source the kits and thankfully the spirit of mateship seems alive and well.

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