Pharmacy & Healthcare

Putting COVID-19 to the test

Access to convenient COVID-19 testing is essential in the roadmap to recovery from the pandemic. Learn how Boots UK and Walgreens have expanded their COVID-19 testing services.   

Boots Pharmacist wearing PPE

Access to COVID-19 testing has always been essential in the fight against the pandemic. 

Just weeks after the virus first landed in the UK, Boots worked tirelessly to support the UK government by setting up and resourcing its first drive-thru testing station in just five days. Fast forward to today, and Boots now has 66 testing sites across the UK which are helping to support the healthcare needs of the nation. And in the U.S., Walgreens recently expanded its drive-thru testing to 6,000 locations across the country, to help ensure the majority of Americans are only a short drive away from a test. 

As we start to emerge from the other side of the pandemic, customer access to convenient COVID-19 testing continues to be a priority. Our pharmacy teams across Boots UK and Walgreens have risen to the challenge and are playing a critical role in making access to affordable COVID-19 testing even easier.

Preparing for take-off

Following the highly anticipated return of international travel on May 17, the UK’s leading pharmacy-led, health and beauty retailer is expanding its private COVID-19 asymptomatic testing services. For customers who require a negative COVID-19 certificate before traveling abroad, Boots now offers three PCR and Rapid Antigen Testing services that can be used as pre-flight testing services, depending on the specific requirements of the destination country and airline.

As an accredited test provider for the UK government’s Test to Release program, Boots also offers next-day results for those wishing to reduce their home quarantine by taking an additional voluntary test on the fifth day after returning from countries on the “Amber List.” Later this month, Boots will also become an accredited test provider for day two and day eight testing for international arrivals, offering at-home self-test kits with results typically within 48 hours from receipt of the sample at the laboratory.

“Now that holidaymakers can start planning a summer holiday abroad, we look forward to helping them stay safe when traveling,” says Asif Aziz, director of healthcare services at Boots UK. “With a negative COVID-19 test result becoming the norm for international travel, we have increased our testing services to make them even more accessible for customers.”

Make space in your medicine cabinet

Like having a thermometer on hand to check your temperature, having a COVID-19 self-test in your medicine cabinet is a simple way to get quick results on your health status. 

In addition to its private testing services, free rapid lateral flow tests (LFTs) are available at more than 1,700 Boots pharmacies in England as part of the government’s new Pharmacy Collect service. As part of this program, people without symptoms will be able to visit their local Boots pharmacy and collect a box of seven rapid LFTs for them and their family to use, twice a week, at home.

Walgreens also collaborated with diagnostic companies to ensure self-test kits would be available for customers as quickly as possible. Walgreens offers three over-the-counter self-test options that can be purchased in store or online at Walgreens.com, for curbside pickup or same-day delivery, where available. Customers do not need to fill out any questionnaires about symptoms or recent travel to purchase a test.

“Providing a lower-cost test with fast results to inform customers and help them make the right choices was our goal,” says Mike Parkis, senior director, divisional merchandise manager of health and wellness products at Walgreens. “We want people to have peace of mind and comfort as they make decisions on how to resume activities while we make our way through the pandemic. We’re proud to offer free drive-thru testing, but this expands options for people who are asymptomatic and unable to make an appointment or need a quick result from home.” 

Learn more about Boots UK and Walgreens COVID-19 testing services.