Buy before you fly. That could be the motto at Oakland International Airport in California that became the first airport in the U.S. to install a vending machine that sells COVID-19 test kits.
The at-home test kits are available for purchase at contactless vending machines at a cost ranging between $130 to $150, which might be reimbursed by health insurance companies.
According to Travel + Leisure, the machines were designed by Wellness 4 Humanity and the tests require payment online at W4Humanity.com. Buyers are then sent a code which they scan at the vending machine to receive their test. When sampling is complete, they send the saliva to the company's laboratory using FedEx. The results are viewed on a mobile app within 48 hours of the sample's arrival at the lab.
Vending machines that sell test kits are now available in New York City, with the first one installed in Manhattan. Wellness 4 Humanity expects to expand distribution to subway stations, hotels, college campuses, and shopping malls, according to Time Out New York.
Other cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, and Dallas are also expected to have the testing machines installed in central areas, according to Travel + Leisure.
Some colleges have already installed these handy devices. The University of California San Diego has placed almost a dozen vending machines that dispense self-administered COVID-19 kits on campus to help students adhere to stringent testing requirements. U.C. San Diego requires all students to test for COVID-19 weekly and the vending machines provide a convenient way to comply to that rule.
The 1,000 on-campus students simply use their student ID card to swipe the machines to obtain the free test kits. After they perform the test, they return it to a lab that is on site within 72 hours, according to Fox News.
U.C. San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla, called the vending machines "an amazing innovation, simple, effective, and impactful."
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