The Biden administration has decided to build on significant actions to expand testing capacity and increase access by distributing at-home, rapid COVID-19 tests to Americans for free.
To help ensure Americans have tests on hand if a need arises, the Biden Administration is purchasing one billion at-home, rapid COVID-19 tests to give to Americans for free. A half-billion tests will be available for order on January 19 and will be mailed directly to American households, read a White House release.
This programme will ensure that Americans have at-home, rapid COVID-19 tests available in the weeks and months ahead--in addition to the number of other ways they can get tested.
The Administration is quickly completing a contracting process for the unprecedented purchase of one billion at-home, rapid tests to distribute as part of this programme.
The Department of Defense, in coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services, has already awarded several of the contracts that will result from this process--with over 420 million tests already under contract, added the release.
Public health experts and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that Americans use at-home tests if they begin to have symptoms, at least five days after coming in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 or is gathering indoors with a group of people who are at risk of severe disease or unvaccinated.
There will be free tests available for every household, and to promote broad access, the initial programme will allow four free tests to be requested per residential address.
Starting January 19, Americans will be able to order their tests online at COVIDTests.gov, and tests will typically ship within 7-12 days of ordering, added the release.
To ensure equity and access for all Americans, the Administration will also launch a call line to help those unable to access the website place orders, and work with national and local community-based organizations to support the nation's hardest-hit and highest-risk communities in requesting tests.
In addition to this new programme, there are many other options for Americans to get tested. There are now over 20,000 free testing sites across the nation, including four times as many pharmacies participating in the federal pharmacy free testing programme as there were in January 2021, as well as federal surge free testing sites, with more free testing sites opening each week, said the release.
Millions of free, at-home COVID-19 tests have been delivered to thousands of community health centres and rural health clinics to distribute to their patients, with more delivered each week.
In addition, the Administration provided schools USD 10 billion in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding to get tests to K-12 school districts, said White House release.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration invested nearly USD 6 billion in ARP funding to cover free testing for uninsured individuals, and support testing in correctional facilities, shelters for people experiencing homelessness, and mental health facilities.
Just this week, the Administration also announced that starting January 15th, private health insurance companies will be required to cover at-home COVID-19 tests for free--and made an additional 10 million COVID-19 tests available to schools nationwide, each month.
Since January 2021, the Administration has taken significant action to dramatically increase the nation's overall COVID-19 testing supply, the number of tests authorized for use in the US, and the number of places where Americans can get a test while lowering costs for consumers and increasing access to free tests, said the release. (ANI)