FAQs About Rapid Antigen Testing

FAQs About Rapid Antigen Testing



QUESTION: If I have symptoms of COVID-19, can I visit my local pharmacy for a rapid antigen test? 

ANSWER: No, you should visit a public testing site if you have symptoms of COVID-19. Rapid antigen tests administered by pharmacists are intended for asymptomatic individuals.

QUESTION: If I am asymptomatic and require a negative rapid antigen test for work or travel purposes, can I visit my local pharmacy to have a rapid antigen test administered?

ANSWER: Yes. However, please note that not all pharmacies are offering rapid antigen testing services, but for those that are, there will be a cost associated.

QUESTION: Which pharmacies are offering rapid antigen tests for service or sale?

ANSWER: Pharmacists Manitoba and the Government of Manitoba do not have a list of pharmacies who are offering these tests. You can visit or call your local pharmacy to inquire?

QUESTION: Does Pharmacists Manitoba have rapid antigen tests for sale?

ANSWER: No, we do not. Your local pharmacy might though!

QUESTION: Which types of rapid antigen tests are approved to use in Canada?

ANSWER: There are three types of tests that are Health Canada approved, but multiple brands of tests. You can view the full list here. 

The types of tests include: 

  1. Self-testing – You can purchase these to take home from many local pharmacies (and some businesses) in Manitoba. 

  1. Point of care – These must be administered by a healthcare professional, many pharmacies in Manitoba are offering this as a service. Please note: There is a cost for this service.  

  1. Self-testing and/or point of care – These tests can be either purchased to take home OR administered by a healthcare professional.

    ** Note: You can now also get self-testing kits from public testing sites.


QUESTION: My local pharmacy was sold out of take-home rapid antigen tests, when will they get more?

ANSWER: The supply of Health Canada approved self-testing devices (take home tests) is extremely scarce.  Unfortunately, we do not know when suppliers will have more in-stock.

QUESTION: Do I have to pay for a rapid antigen test(s)?

ANSWER: If you visit your local pharmacy for a test(s), then yes. Alternatively, you can now visit a provincial public testing site for rapid antigen tests if you have symptoms of COVID-19. The Government of Manitoba announced on Dec. 27th that they will be giving out rapid testing kits to keep up with the high demand for tests in our province.  

QUESTION: Is public health doing contact tracing OR is the positive person responsible for doing that on their own?

ANSWER: In most situations, public health officials will no longer be notifying close contacts. Confirmed COVID-19 cases will be asked to notify their contacts. In some settings, such as schools, personal care homes, child care facilities, shelters, and health care facilities, public health officials will work with the facility to notify close contacts.

QUESTION: If an asymptomatic person tests positive on a rapid antigen test, are they supposed to go for a PCR test? 

ANSWER: As of Dec. 27, only symptomatic individuals or those advised by public health should visit a COVID-19 testing site for a PCR test. However, if you tested positive on a rapid antigen test, you should self-isolate and inform your close contacts.

QUESTION: If I’m asymptomatic, but I was a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, can I still visit a pharmacy to get a rapid antigen test administered by a pharmacist?

ANSWER: No, you should visit a public testing site (link in bio) to receive a free rapid testing kit.

QUESTION: I had COVID-19, how long should I wait before I get my booster?

ANSWER: Please follow all isolation requirements and:

  1. 1. wait until your symptoms have cleared before booking your booster appointment. 
  1. Do not go if you are sick. Waiting until you feel better will keep you from spreading it to others and you have the bonus of your immune system being stronger.  

  1. FYI: If you were previously infected with another strain, the immunity will not protect you from Omicron, so get your booster!