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Get COVID-19 testing, shots at these US airports

Jan. 23, 2022
7 min read
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Travelers are still flying despite the pandemic dragging on. Some are cutting it close as they struggle to find a test before their flight, while some just haven't had time to get their jabs. Now some U.S. airports are here to help.

Below we take a look at airports that offer COVID-19 health services.

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Related: Traveling soon? Here’s where you can quickly get a COVID-19 test

Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)

BWI's First Call Medical Center. (Photo courtesy of the airport)

First Call Medical Center opened a full-service urgent care clinic inside BWI in August 2021. Among the services it offers are myriad COVID-19 tests, said clinic director Dr. Ron Elfenbein. They include rapid COVID antigen, rapid COVID PCR, combined COVID and flu rapid antigen, combined COVID, flu and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). It also offers strep, flu, RSV, mono, urine and pregnancy testing.

If you still haven't gotten a COVID-19 vaccine, the clinic offers all three – Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer. Test results take from15 minutes to two hours. The clinic is located in Terminal C behind the Jet Blue ticket counter and is open from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. every day.

"We do try to limit vaccines for airport personnel to only three days a week to minimize waste," said Elfenbein. "Once we puncture a vial, if we don't use it all by end of the day, we have to waste the rest."

The BWI clinic is pretty busy, said Elfenbein. "BWI has a big USO lounge and is an active point of embarkation for the U.S. military and they are required to get a PCR test prior to flying," he said. The military does not supply this. We do it for them. We have gone from a low of 30 people a day when we opened to almost 350 a day a few weeks ago. We average somewhere around 130 travelers a day."

Related: 7 reasons to visit Baltimore

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John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)

Travelers walk past a sign pointing toward a COVID-19 testing location at JFK. (Photo by Angus Mordant/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

JFK "strongly" recommends that departing international travelers do their required COVID-19 testing before coming to the airport. But if that's not possible, the airport offers testing in three locations.

Terminal 1, Departures Level (Pre-Security)

Testing is provided by Adams Health Services using the Biomeme SARS-CoV-2 Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test with results available in two to three hours. Antibody testing is also available. Testing is offered from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. daily.

Terminal 4, Arrivals Level (Pre-Security)

Testing is provided by XpresCheck using the PCR and Rapid RT-PCR tests with results available in as little as an hour. Testing is available from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. from Monday through Friday and 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Terminal 8, Red Parking Garage

Testing is provided by NYC Health + Hospitals using PCR and rapid antigen tests with results available in as little as an hour. The testing site is open from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily.

Related: The best and worst U.S. airports

Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD)

A worker hauls luggage for an American Airlines flight at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport (ORD). (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Doctors Test Centers, in connection with Simple Laboratories, offers rapid antigen screening and PCR testing at O'Hare. The service will be available for travelers and airport employees for free until the end of 2022. Those who want to take a test need to show proof of flying (either within 72 hours before a flight or five days after) or proof of airport employment.

The COVID-19 testing site at O'Hare is in the Bus Shuttle Center on Level 1 of the main parking garage, between elevator centers 3 and 4​. Travelers can get rapid and PCR tests every day from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Appointments can be booked in advance online and walk-i​​ns are welcome pending availability.​

The BD rapid antigen test takes five minutes and costs $120. Results are delivered within 20 minutes. The RT-PCR test, which also takes five minutes, costs $145 and results are sent within 72 hours. For more information, check out the airport's website.

Related: Chicago O'Hare versus Midway

Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC)

Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC). (Photo by Benét J. Wilson)

The airport's testing sites are arranged and funded by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. In turn, the department has contracted with Capstone to offer free PCR testing and all three COVID-19 vaccinations (subject to availability) for anyone 12 years of age or older, including visitors to Alaska from other states or countries. Vaccines for those age 5-11 years old are not available.

While walk-ins are accepted, travelers are encouraged to pre-register using the Alaska Safe Travels app. It can take up to 72 hours to get test results, although when TPG senior news editor Clint Henderson and I traveled to Anchorage on March 21, we had our results the next morning after testing.

The free COVID-19 testing for the traveling public and badged employees is located behind airport security next to Starbucks between the B and C concourse. The vaccination clinic is on the public side of the airport down near the escalator leading to the A gates. Testing and vaccines are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Related: Anchorage briefly becomes busiest airport

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP)

The Minnesota State Department of Health and Vault Health manages free COVID-19 testing at the airport for state residents. The test site is located pre-security in Terminal 1, Level 2 of Blue Ramp. Testing hours are 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. by appointment only, which can be scheduled online. Results are available within 48 hours.

Wanderlust offers COVID-19 testing – antigen, NAAT and RT-PCR – with a quick turnaround in Terminal 1 pre-security, Level 3 of Gold Ramp. The antigen test costs $99, NAAT is $179 and RT-PCR is $199, with results available within an hour. Both walk-ins and appointments are available daily. Hours are Sunday, 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Tuesday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Wednesday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.; and Saturday, noon to 5:00 p.m.

The Minnesota Department of Health offers free vaccinations in Terminal 1, post-security and Terminal 2, pre-security. Both sites offer Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccines and boosters from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. daily.

Bottom line

These are only some airports that offer COVID-19 testing and vaccines. Go to your local airport's website before your next flight to see if testing or shots are available — and don't forget to check if there's a fee.

Related: Traveling soon? Here’s where you can quickly get a COVID-19 test

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.