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Free, Universal Access to At-home Rapid Covid-19 Tests in BC Now

Until global vaccination rates double, everyone is at risk from emerging variants of SARS CoV2, including strains such as O-micron that show indications of evading immunities.

Effective antiviral treatments are awaiting authorisation from governments around the world. These treatments promise to be highly effective, but only if administered promptly upon sign of infection with SARS CoV2.

In addition to universal vaccination and masking in public spaces, it is imperative that every BC resident have immediate access to free at-home rapid tests, as is the case in other provinces like Nova Scotia, which never saw the same devastating rate of hospitalisations and deaths as BC.

Millions of people across BC have stepped up and done their civic duty to protect themselves, their families and the vulnerable in their communities by wearing masks, curtailing social interactions and getting vaccinated promptly. During overlapping states of emergency and with breakthrough cases and reinfections likely to rise in the coming months, it is unconscionable that the government of BC is withholding a critical tool that would enable us all to continue to protect one another.

We urge the BC government to act promptly and provide this essential tool in the ongoing battle to quell this virus, protect the vulnerable, and rebuild our lives.

Why is this important?

You’ve faithfully masked up, kept your distance, and gotten your jabs. Your family life, social life, work and mental health have all suffered. You may be facing housing and financial crises. You’ve likely not received much medical or dental care, either.

By necessity, we have all ceded so much control over our lives to the pandemic. The pandemic isn’t over. The only way through it with our sanity intact is regain control over our ability to protect each other and stop the spread through informed choices.

Rapid covid tests have their flaws, but the one thing that they do fairly well is let us know when we are infectious. Masks and vaccines are great and the new antivirals look very promising, but they don’t tell us what we need to know when we need to know it: before you cuddle your best friend’s newborn, or leave your elderly mother stranded at the ferry terminal because you felt a tickle in your throat at 2 am the night before.

Free rapid tests are available universally in some provinces and are restricted to specific populations in others. Calls for the BC government to make these tests universally available have fallen on deaf ears for many, many months. We must redouble our efforts to put pressure on this government to do the right and infinitely doable thing.

Please add your voice to others calling for free, universal access to at-home rapid Covid-19 tests NOW.