COVID-19 at-home test kit purchases capped at CVS, other stores

CVS is placing a cap on the number of its at-home COVID-19 tests customers can purchase in stores and online

Customers seeking Abbott BinaxNOW, Acon FlowFlex, Quidel Quickvue, Ellume, and Pixel by LabCorp will be allowed to buy no more than six test kits due to a recent surge in demand.

Stores have seen a surge in demand for at-home tests during the recent spike in cases caused by the highly-infectious omicron variant. It was first detected by scientists in South Africa last month and has quickly become the dominant strain in several countries, including the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"Due to a recent surge in demand, and to retain community-based access to tests in our stores, there may be temporary out-of-stocks for these products on," a company spokesperson said.

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CVS is still offering lab-based testing that returns results within a couple of days. Rapid COVID-19 testing is also available at thousands of CVS locations.

Other retailers, like Walmart and Amazon, have placed similar caps on their test kits.

For months, Walmart had a limit of 12 purchases of at-home tests. But they recently dropped the cap to eight per online order, a Walmart spokesperson said.

The retailer has a strong inventory of tests available in its stores, but its online inventory is more limited. The spokesperson said Walmart has not instituted a national limit on in-store purchases, but individual stores are able to set their own limits based on local inventory.

68be98b6-American retail and health care company, CVS Pharmacy logo

American retail and health care company, CVS Pharmacy logo seen at one of their stores. (Photo Illustration by Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Amazon restricted customers to 10 of its own at-home testing kits all the way back in September of this year, meaning it is not in response to the omicron variant. Customers who choose to buy from third-party sellers on the Amazon website are not subject to the company’s 10-test kit limit.

Even so, an Amazon spokesperson said each seller has the right to set purchase limits on their products.

"At this time, similar to other retailers, we are experiencing inventory shortages on some COVID-19 tests due to increased demand," an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement. "Other retailers have instituted limits on the number of at-home COVID tests customers can buy."

Amazon’s spokesperson said the company is "working hard to secure additional COVID-19 test inventory available from our selling partners."

This story was reported from Atlanta.