As if you needed any other evidence that accessing RATs has been deeply and truly fucked by the government, you’ve now potentially got a better chance of winning a RAT in an Instagram giveaway than being able to actually buy one.
In possibly the most 2022 thing of all time, The Care Pack Co, a small candle business in Sydney’s North Shore, shared a giveaway on Insta offering a RAT, one of their candles (dubbed the RONA, of course) and a box of matches.
A screenshot of the giveaway was shared to Twitter, where it copped some flack for being in poor taste or possibly even satirical.
oh my fuck— Deirdre (@figgled) January 11, 2022
January 11, 2022
Please tell me this is satire.— Dr Cristy Clark (she/her) (@cristyclark) January 11, 2022
January 11, 2022
In a statement to PEDESTRIAN.TV, the shop said the giveaway was in part a way to highlight the inaccessibility of RATs.
“Like most people in the Sydney community, I have found it very difficult to get rapid antigen tests. The supply and distribution of these tests has been very poorly managed and for many people they are also simply unaffordable.
“I’ve heard of some people paying up to $35 for a single test. How is that fair?
“The promotion was a way to highlight the fact that these are so scarce and hard to come by that they are like a prize. After buying a pack of 5 for my family of 3, I have 2 single tests remaining that will be given away for free.”
Whether you agree with the concept of giving away an RAT via Instagram or not, at this point it honestly feels like you’re as likely to win an RAT in a giveaway as you are to find one in an actual pharmacy.
The government’s move towards ‘personal responsibility’ in a public health crisis and an ever shifting quicksand of rules has meant that, like it or not, access to resources has become about networks — being able to rely on friends and family to drop off foods or COVID tests. It’s simultaneously a testament to community and incredibly isolating.
We live in such a capitalist hell hole right now that entering an Instagram giveaway for an RAT is as accessible as actually buying one: hey, you don’t have to spend $25 to enter the prize draw.
As pointed out by The Guardian, even those who can get free supplementary RATs under the government scheme might not even be able to access them, because the government has made pharmacies responsible for supplying those extra tests for concession card holders.
On Monday, Scott Morrison confirmed that the government — the people with, you know, money and access and resources — wouldn’t actually be distributing the supplementary RATs to pharmacies.
He said: “they’ll come through the pharmacies and the pharmacy is responsible for securing their private supplies to meet that demand.”
While the pharmacies will apparently be paid a fee for every RAT they distribute to a concession card holder, at the moment it’s unclear how much they’ll get paid. And, it’ll be the pharmacies’ job to figure out where to get those RATs from.
Fundamentally, the lack of access to RATs is the product of a government which has created a nation of increasingly desperate people.
And, until that changes, it looks like we’ll be relying on Instagram giveaways and the people around us to actually get our hands on essential medical devices.
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