Something we thought we'd never see in NYC is on its way: a vending machine for COVID tests.
Wellness 4 Humanity, a group of science- and medical-focused social entrepreneurs, is planning to place a vending machine with COVID tests at 225 W. 34th St. in midtown Manhattan—the future brick-and-mortar store of Wellness 4 Humanity. The vending machine will open to the public on January 26, a representative for the company told us.
After that, more vending machines will be installed elsewhere throughout NYC, including at subway stations, hotels, airports, music and entertainment venues, university and college campuses, and shopping malls, among other places.
The vending machines will offer the At-Home Saliva RT-PCR Test, which must be sent to a partner lab using a prepaid FedEx shipping label. Results from this test are given within 48 hours with 99% accuracy.
In the near future, the TRUSTPASS Rapid Antigen At-Home Test Kit will be added. This test shows results in just 15 minutes and has 97.4% accuracy and 100% specificity.
The vending machines will accept contactless payment via your cellphone.
This is a good option for those who'd rather not wait in line at a doctor's office and have a little cash to throw at the problem. However, it's a little pricey (more pricey than a bag of chips, that's for sure). When it launches, the vending machine's tests will start at $119. Right now, the current market rate for home test kits is $129-$149 but rates will likely go down over time, so pricing is subject to change, the rep said.
"These vending machines are a significant milestone in helping to provide Americans with easier access to fast, highly accurate COVID-19 testing," said Lian Nguyen Pham, CEO and co-founder of Wellness 4 Humanity. "We've seen similar vending machines placed in highly populated, highly trafficked areas of Hong Kong and the United Kingdom to help contain the spread of the virus and, given the surge in cases the U.S. is currently experiencing, we hope to roll out our vending machines as soon as possible. Automated testing is a convenient and safe way to test for COVID-19 in the comfort of your own home for one or multiple members of your household."
Wellness 4 Humanity partnered with San Francisco-based tech company Swyft to roll these out. Swyft actually placed PPE vending machines in 10 subway stations last year.
These Wellness 4 Humanity vending machines will soon be available in other major cities across the U.S., including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and Dallas.
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