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Sunday, October 24th 2021

"I'm a travel junkie who's hooked on deals from YVR." - Chris Myden

Antigen & PCR testing options in B.C. and Seattle (best prices, locations, turnaround times)

Antigen and PCR testing in BC

Cheaper antigen tests in the range of $16 to $40 have become easy to find in Alberta and Ontario, and are now available at Shoppers Drug Mart, Walmart, and Costco.

But for some reason antigen tests are still *really* expensive in B.C. (approximately 3 to 6 times more than in Alberta and Ontario). I have no idea what market forces are keeping antigen test prices propped up so high, particularly in a large market like Vancouver.

Antigen tests are fine for mainland U.S. entry (any state but Hawaii) or for flights connecting through the U.S., but some countries require a PCR test for entry. (You can find the details on what each country requires for entry here).

Antigen test results can often take less than an hour, while PCR turnaround times are generally in the range of 24-48 hours.

PCR tests go for approximately $200 in and around Vancouver, which is about 1.3 to 2 times the going rate in Alberta and Ontario.

Sorted by price, here are some options for *antigen* testing in B.C.:

JC Health

price: $75
locations: Surrey
website: https://jchealth.ca/pages/covid-19-testing

Integrated Wellness Medical Centre

price: $99
locations: Richmond
website: https://www.inwellnv.ca/

Midtown Medical Clinic

price: $99
locations: Richmond, Vancouver
website: https://www.midtownmedical.net/

Bon Voyage Medical

price: $110
locations: Richmond, Coquitlam
website: https://www.bonvoyagemedical.com/#nHdWPs

Canadian Travel Clinics

price: $115
locations: Vancouver
website: https://www.canadiantravelclinics.ca/Clinics/1056-/Travel-Clinic-Vancouver-Downtown

Far & Away

price: $119
locations: Victoria
website: https://farandawayadventures.com/travel-the-world/covid-19-testing/

Iridia Medical

price: $120
locations: Vancouver, mobile testing available
website: https://www.covidconcierge.ca/contact-us

Ultima Vancouver

price: $120
locations: Vancouver airport
website: https://ultimamedical.com/

Whitecap Medical

price: $120
locations: airports in Vancouver, Kelowna, Nanaimo, Terrace, Prince George
website: https://whitecapcovidtesting.com/

CVM Medical

price: $129 (Vancouver) to $195 (Nanaimo)
locations: YVR Airport, Nanaimo
website: https://covid-medical.ca/test-select-location/

Go Rapid Test

price: $130
locations: Vancouver
website: https://www.gorapidtest.ca/collections/vancouver

Sorted by price, here are some options for *PCR* testing in B.C.:

City Center Urgent Primary Care Center

price: $149 - 24 to 48 hours or $199 for 24 hours or same-day for $699
locations: Vancouver
website: https://citycentreupcc.ca/ or their booking page

Shoppers Drug Mart / LifeLabs

price: $150 - 24 to 48 hours
locations: various locations in Vancouver, Nanaimo, Abbotsford
website: https://covid-19.shoppersdrugmart.ca/en/testing/international-outbound/bc

Inwell Medical

price: $180 - 24 to 48 hours
locations: North Vancouver, Port Coquitlam
website: https://www.inwellnv.ca/

IME Clinic

price: $180 - 24 to 48 hours
locations: Vancouver
website: https://www.imeclinic.ca

Iridia Medical

price: $185 - by next day at 4 PM
locations: Vancouver, mobile testing available
website: https://www.covidconcierge.ca/contact-us

A+ Travel Tests

price: $188 - 24 to 30 hours (website mentions a special deal for $123?)
locations: Vancouver
website: https://aplustraveltests.ca/

Far & Away

price: $189 - by end of the following day
locations: Victoria
website: https://farandawayadventures.com/travel-the-world/covid-19-testing/

Bon Voyage Medical

price: $190 - by 11 PM next day or $320 for 11 PM same day or $595 within an hour
locations: Richmond, Coquitlam
website: https://www.bonvoyagemedical.com/#nHdWPs

Midtown Medical Clinic

price: $195 - within 48 hours or $269 within 8 hours or $499 within 4 hours
locations: Richmond, Vancouver
website: https://www.midtownmedical.net/

Canadian Travel Clinics

price: $199 - before 3 PM next day
locations: Vancouver
website: https://www.canadiantravelclinics.ca/Clinics/1056-/Travel-Clinic-Vancouver-Downtown

Life Labs

price: $199 - within 48 hours
locations: Vancouver airport
website: https://www.lifelabs.com/flyclear/predeparture/?myProvince=bc

Go Rapid Test

price: $240 - 24 to 48 hours or $350 for under 24 hours
locations: Vancouver
website: https://www.gorapidtest.ca/collections/vancouver

Whitecap Medical

price: $240 - 24 to 48 hours
locations: airports in Vancouver, Kelowna, Nanaimo, Terrace
website: https://whitecapcovidtesting.com/

CVM Medical

price: $249 (Vancouver) to $375 (Nanaimo) - within 36 hours
locations: YVR Airport, Nanaimo
website: https://covid-medical.ca/test-select-location/

Burnside Clinic

price: $250 - 24 to 48 hours
locations: Victoria
website: https://www.burnsideclinic.ca/

Heart Pharmacy

price: $300 - 24 to 48 hours
locations: Victoria
website: https://www.heartpharmacy.com/covid-testing

Getting a test in Seattle to come back to Canada

Whether you're re-entering Canada by land, or by air, you'll need a test result. It's important to remember that Canada does not accept antigen test results for entry. You'll want a test with PCR or NAAT somewhere in the name.

Up here in Canada, the word 'rapid' is generally only associated with antigen tests. Down in the U.S. you can also find the word rapid associated with PCR or NAAT tests. Rapid PCR and Rapid NAAT tests are fine for entry into Canada.

Besides any test with PCR in the name, the 'NAAT (ID Now)' test from Walgreens is a popular choice for Canadians to get back into Canada. The results are generally faster than a PCR test.

'Free' testing at Walgreens

It is true that many Canadians have been getting 'free' PCR and NAAT tests from Walgreens locations across the United States, including in Washington. These 'free' tests are really being paid for by Uncle Sam. It does not appear to be bothering Uncle Sam, and Walgreens isn't bothered either, because, well, Uncle Sam is paying *them*.

Canadians have just been using essentially made-up info when booking (other than their name), and Walgreens only really cares that your name matches when they check your passport or license. When the booking page asks for your address, most have just been using their hotel address. And entering whatever they want for their license info.

Sorted by price, here are some options for *PCR* or *NAAT* testing in Seattle:


price: Free (see above) to $139 USD

locations: around the Seattle area

turnaround time: less than 24 hours for the Rapid (ID NOW) test to 'hopefully 24-48 hours' for PCR (see below)

website: https://www.walgreens.com/findcare/covid19/testing?ban=covid_vanity_testing (scroll down to the map and select 'Rapid Diagnostic Test (ID NOW)' or Diagnostic Lab Test (PCR).

There have been reports of Canadians finding that Walgreens took longer than they expected to receive results, and had to end up paying for a more expensive last minute test somewhere else. Although that does seem to be more the exception than the rule. Walgreens has some links to their current turnaround times at the bottom of this page.

King County or UW Medicine

price: Free

locations: Seatac (near the Seattle airport) and other locations around Seattle

turnaround time: They can't guarantee turnaround time, only 'Please allow up to 72 hours for results'

website: https://kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/testing.aspx or https://www.uwmedicine.org/coronavirus/testing

note: The Angle Lake location is the one near the airport. The booking page for those with no symptoms can be found here.


price: Free (see Walgreens 'free' testing info above)

locations: 3 in the Seattle area. The one in Bellevue is temporarily closed.

website: https://www.cvs.com/minuteclinic/covid-19-testing/covid-scheduler?symptoms=covid

Discovery Health MD

price: $176-$184 USD for PCR (same day or next day) or $206 for NAAT ID NOW (20 minutes) or $246 USD for rapid PCR (1 hour)

locations: Seattle Airport

website: https://discoveryhealthmd.com/offer/seatac-testing/

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16 Responses to "Antigen & PCR testing options in B.C. and Seattle (best prices, locations, turnaround times)"

    Has Brett been here?
       Brett on October 8th, 2021

    Perfect post, tbh I needed this. Unfortunately the tests are still all expensive. Luckily there's some ways around it, like transiting Mexico. Abroad the tests can be more or less expensive. In Colombia a PCR test only cost me about $85, way more reasonable than the $200 it is here.

    Has joy soltis been here?
       joy soltis on October 9th, 2021

    Amazon is selling home PCR tests for around $30-40 dollars. You get a prepaid return to send the test in / results in 24-48 hours. You need one amazon account for each person testes.

    Has Chris_Myden been here?
       Chris_Myden on October 9th, 2021

    Thanks Joy, I see those on Amazon.com (US site) but not on Amazon.ca.

    I believe those tests can only be shipped to addresses in the U.S.

    Has Grace been here?
       Grace on October 11th, 2021

    Chris, You missed out Shoppers Drug Mart for PCR tests ( partnership with Lifelabs ) It is only $150, the lowest I could find in BC. It is good for Hawaii too.

    Has Chris_Myden been here?
       Chris_Myden on October 11th, 2021

    Oops, thanks Grace, added!

    Has Carlene been here?
       Carlene on October 12th, 2021

    Thanks for this list we have been unable to get a straight answer out of LifeLabs at to why not all locations offer the service or which ones did. We have had to cancel our planned trip to Hawaii in NOV due to the lack of PCR testing services in the rest of BC. We would have to fly to YVR 2 days early to be tested and have results so in addition to the 199.00 for the test its two nights hotel, meals and entertainment just makes the trip too expensive before we have even left BC.

    Has austin miller been here?
       austin miller on October 13th, 2021

    thanks for the post, i was wondering if you could do a post about which countries will allow travelers with mixed vaccine doses and which ones will not allow mixed doses as i have one dose of moderna and 1 Pfizer. also, a post for which places in canada you can get a 3rd dose so you can travel to those countries would be helpful to as i live in BC and they don't want to give us a 3rd dose yet, thanks!

    Has Chris_Myden been here?
       Chris_Myden on October 13th, 2021

    Hi Austin, you may want to check out this blog post.

    It would be easier to give you a list of countries where mixed vaccinations have been an issue. Of the 104 countries a Canadian tourist can currently visit, I would say 102 of them do not have issues with mixed vaccinations.

    Here are the 2 I'm aware of where mixed vaccinations are currently an issue:

    Trinidad and Tobago: only accepts certain combinations (they all involve AstraZeneca or Covishield as your first dose)

    Ireland: Anecdotally, I often hear people mention that Ireland does not accept mixed vaccinations. And a recent article from the Tourism Ireland board stated: "Mixed dose vaccines are still not recognized in Ireland, however that will likely change in the coming months." However I've also seen recent posts from Canadians with mixed vaccinations that entered without issue.

    ** Other notes **

    United States: Currently, the mainland U.S. does not consider your vaccination status for entry, so it is not currently an issue. But we're still waiting to see what happens in early November when full vaccination will be required for U.S. entry and their policy on mixed doses for entry. We do know that all 4 of the vaccines approved in Canada will be allowed (including AstraZeneca)

    Also, U.S. cruise lines departing from U.S. ports have issues with mixed vaccinations (Royal Caribbean recently started allowing them).

    United Kingdom: Does not recognize mixed vaccinations, but we are currently on the UK's Green list, so our vaccination status does not matter. Starting on October 4th the UK (England at least) will be recognizing mixed vaccinations.

    ** places where mixed vaccinations were previously an issue **

    Barbados: At one point Barbados wasn't recognizing mixed vaccinations, but they changed their entry policy to allow mixed vaccinations starting July 16th, 2021.

    Europe: Not really related to 'mixed' doses per se, but back in July 2021, countries in Europe seemingly had an issue with 'Covishield', although the issue was mainly bureaucratic, being a different name for the same vaccine (AstraZeneca). Since that time, most of these countries have come out and stated they are fine with Covishield now.

    Has Lisa been here?
       Lisa on October 13th, 2021

    With today's announcement, it might make sense for some people to know the best places to get a PCR test in Seattle. After doing a lot of research recently, the best option I found was US Biotek in Shoreline, north of Seattle. It's US$90 per person for the test. They say that they will get you the results within 36 hours, but on a trip this past weekend, it took them 6 hours to get them to me. Because they are a lab, the results are much quicker (most other testing sites down there send the tests to labs, which just adds to the time and uncertainty).

    Otherwise, PCR tests can be hard / expensive to get in Washington, especially if you go over a weekend. Even US Biotek is not open on weekends. We went to a different part of Washington and there was no option whatsoever that would guarantee us a result within 72 hours, even during the week, so we stopped in Seattle on Friday on the way through and got the test. I know people who have used Walgreens, but I also have multiple friends and family members who've gotten the run around on how long results will take and even which locations conduct the tests -- contradicting their website frequently.

    Has austin miller been here?
       austin miller on October 13th, 2021

    ok thank you Chris, very useful info

    Has Cate been here?
       Cate on October 15th, 2021

    Thanks for compiling this list, Chris. These prices are insane. My understanding from a CBC article is that other provinces are paying half what BC residents are being forced to pay... ON and AB, IIRC. Are there any organizations actively lobbying for a drop in rates?

    Has Chris_Myden been here?
       Chris_Myden on October 16th, 2021

    Hi Cate, yes, the going market rates in Alberta and Ontario for antigen tests are in the range of 3 to 6 times cheaper than British Columbia. PCR tests are approximately 1.3 to 2 times cheaper.

    Other Canadian provinces have test prices that are as expensive as B.C., or even more expensive, such as Manitoba. The cheapest PCR tests in Winnipeg are $350, versus $150-$200 in the Vancouver area.

    But I can kind of understand the high prices in a province like Manitoba where the number of private testing locations is so limited.

    I haven't seen any organizations lobbying for lower testing prices.

    Has Barry been here?
       Barry on October 18th, 2021

    Just to confirm we each paid $180 (tax incl.) on two different occasions here in Port Coquitlam for a PCR test https://www.integratedwellness.clinic/covid-19-testing-essential-travel/ Both times we booked online and there were lots of available appointments - and only in the morning. Booked at 11:50 and the results were emailed by 9:30 AM the next day. Incidentally the KLM desk in Vancouver ( wife on Aug 8th, me on Sept. 17) thoroughly checked our documents - vaccination/PCR test for Hungary/Dutch Health Form (easy one pager - we were in transit in Amsterdam). After that they barely said boo to us in Amsterdam and there were Zero checks in Budapest ... I didn't see a single uniform at their airport ... and no one was wearing a mask either. One month later and the latter is still the case.

    Has Marie been here?
       Marie on October 20th, 2021

    Hi Chris. Thanks for all of your hard work!

    Note that JC Health in Surrey currently lists their antigen test as $75, not $65. I think they tweaked the price in the last few days.

    Has Chris_Myden been here?
       Chris_Myden on October 21st, 2021

    Thanks Marie! I've updated the price for JC Health.

    Has David been here?
       David on October 21st, 2021

    Hi Chris, My son and I are travelling to Las Vegas from Vancouver for a baseball tournament November 10 - 14. Where do we get a test in Las Vegas prior to returning to Canada?

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