Experts say if you want to get a rapid COVID test ahead of holidays, plan now

Remember what things were like this time last year? Lots of people were still working from home, lots of kids were still in virtual school, and lots of families and friends didn’t see each other for the holidays at all.

READ MORE: COVID-19 cases surging following Thanksgiving holiday, health experts say

"We’re gonna have separate Thanksgivings this year," one man told FOX 5 in November of 2020.

But this year is different, and if you’re planning on getting a rapid COVID test before spending the holidays with grandma, experts say you may want to start planning now.

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"Demand will be at an all-time high," said Vault Health CEO Jason Feldman.

So much so, the Biden Administration is working to increase the availability of rapid tests, making an announcement on the topic as recently as Monday. Plus, when you add in what could be a busy flu season and likely new vaccine-or-test mandates for large businesses, Feldman said it’s time to prepare.

"There is just an incredible demand on the supply chain for testing," he explained. "Very different from what we saw last year and also made more challenging because we still have that mix of people who are not or are refusing to be vaccinated, complicating the number of variants that are emerging."

READ MORE: Experts encourage early holiday shopping as COVID continues to impact supply chain

Asked whether people should have extra tests on hand, Feldman said it depends.

"You know the good news is there’s a lot of tests available in your community. Schools are actively testing children, employers are actively testing or making testing available to their employees, and a lot of communities across this country are making public health available to their residents so that people can get tested, no cost. But when you need that test for something unplanned, you’re gonna see a family member who might be immunocompromised, you’re gonna take a trip and you need to be in possession of a test result that says you’re not sick, that you’re negative, you need to have that test available and often times finding the right test that’s approved to be used is hard. So we do recommend that people are thoughtful about the activities they’re going to undertake and be prepared in that case."