Paracetamol 'sold out' after Aussies urged to 'prepare to get Covid'

Aussies are struggling to get their hands on paracetamol, following advice from the nation's deputy chief medical officer, Michael Kidd, to stock up to in order manage the virus' symptoms at home.

The advice from Professor Kidd sparked an increased demand for the pain relief, leaving shelves barren and people scrambling to find supplies as the virus surges nationwide.

Professor Kidd said it was likely many Australians would test positive in the near future, encouraging people to be prepared to treat Covid symptoms — such as fevers and mild aches or pains — at home.

Empty shelves in a pharmacy and a supermarket.
Panadol is selling out in supermarkets and pharmacies. Source: Twitter

“With the rising case numbers we’ve seen over the past week in many parts of the country, it’s likely that many of us will test positive for Covid-19 over the coming days and weeks if we haven’t already done so," he said on Sunday.

“It's important to be prepared because you won’t be able to go to your supermarket or pharmacy if you’re diagnosed."

However, the advice has resulted in products flying off the shelves, leaving some unable to purchase simple pain medication and leaving stores out of stock.

Shoppers take to social media to show 'dire' supermarket shelves

Flabbergasted shoppers took to social media showing bare shelves in supermarkets and pharmacies.

"Gave up on finding rapid tests, approaching giving up on finding toilet paper or Panadol," one user wrote on Twitter.

"And now there’s no paracetamol..." another wrote, along with a photo of an empty shelf.

"Panadol is the new toilet paper. Fantastic. Great move," wrote another.

"There's no Panadol to buy at Coles, at Woolworths at the 4 local chemists or at Aldi," reported another. "There is no nurofen either."

Covid exemption for select supermarket workers

Paracetamol isn't the only item Aussies are struggling to get their hands on, with rapid tests notoriously difficult to find and stock in supermarkets dwindling.

The explosion of Covid cases has forced thousands of workers into isolation, resulting in a severe lack of staff in the supermarket, from warehouses to retail staff.

Last week, Coles reimposed limits on certain products, saying it made the decision "due to high demand", and the temporary product limits on meat and rapid antigen tests would apply to in-store and online shoppers.

“Thank you for your patience. We ask that customers continue to respect and support our team members, particularly in these busier times,” Coles said in a statement on its website on Friday.

Empty salad shelf in Woolworths in NSW.
Supermarkets' shelves are bare due to staff members in isolation. Source: Facebook

Woolworths told Yahoo News Australia last week they have 'no plans yet' to do the same.

“Our customers have been shopping in reasonable quantities and are only buying what they need, so we don’t believe product limits are needed at this stage. We will continue to closely monitor product availability across our stores,” a Woolworths spokesperson said.

Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci has asked for understanding among customers in a statement on Thursday.

"When you’re shopping with us at the moment, you might unfortunately have noticed gaps on shelf, or substitutions in your online order," he said in a statement on Thursday.

"This is because of the number of people in our supply chain in isolation – from suppliers to truck drivers and distribution centre team members – which in turn is causing material delays to store deliveries."

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