With more than 9,000 stores spread all across the United States, Walgreens has long been a convenient place to fill prescriptions while stocking up on toiletries and other essential items. Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Walgreens has also come to fill another vital need: COVID-19 testing. But can kids get tested for COVID-19 at Walgreens? Thanks to a recent expansion of the pharmacy chain's testing program, kids as young as 3 can now obtain a COVID-19 test at Walgreens.
Walgreens has announced expanded access to its COVID-19 testing program, which until last week was only available to individuals 18 and over. Now, however, children as young as 3 will be able to receive a COVID-19 test at participating Walgreens locations.
"We're continuing to expand our COVID-19 testing program to improve access in the communities we serve," Rick Gates, Walgreens' senior vice president of pharmacy, said in a recent statement. "This will help to address the growing need for testing for children and adolescents."
According to Gates, the move to expand Walgreens' COVID-19 testing program to include children comes "as more health departments and school administrators continue efforts to bring students back to classrooms in a safe and thoughtful manner." Ultimately, Gates said Walgreens is hoping to "help parents and guardians seeking access to testing when warranted for their children."
The expansion of Walgreens' testing program is welcome news for families given that many COVID-19 testing sites don't test children, according to The New York Times. Under Walgreens' program, contactless COVID-19 tests are available at any of Walgreens' 620 COVID-19 testing sites. What's more, testing is free for those who meet the testing criteria established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as state and federal guidelines.
To schedule a test, parents and guardians of children exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, cough, diarrhea, sore throat, runny nose, or difficulty breathing should visit Walgreens.com/COVID19Testing, where they'll be asked to complete a quick online screening and provide electronic consent before scheduling an appointment. A parent or guardian must accompany any minor to the Walgreens testing location on the day of their scheduled test.
While Walgreens testing program has so far seen adults over the age of 18 self-administer their COVID-19 test under the supervision of a Walgreens pharmacy team member, children won't have to administer their own tests. Instead, a Walgreens pharmacy team member will instruct the child's parent or guardian on how to administer the COVID-19 test. Adolescent children, however, will be given the option to self-administer the test if they choose. The pharmacy chain has said results are generally received within 24 to 72 hours, depending on lab capacity.
"We're proud to be a community testing resource for individuals and families," Gates said. "Including those age 3 and over."
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here.