WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden introduced final month that the federal authorities will purchase half a billion COVID-19 speedy take a look at kits and distribute them free to folks to make use of at residence. However regardless of excessive public demand for assessments, it should nonetheless be a number of extra weeks earlier than these kits can be found to be shipped, White Home officers mentioned.
Does the federal government have the assessments?
Not but. This week marked the shut of an preliminary bidding interval for take a look at producers to use to the departments of Protection and Well being and Human Companies for contracts to make the assessments. The primary contract has already been signed, and extra contracts might be signed within the coming weeks, officers mentioned. All 500 million kits won’t arrive on the identical time. They are going to be delivered in batches over months.
When will the take a look at kits be delivered?
The federal authorities is anticipated to get supply of the primary batch of assessments “over the following week or so,” in keeping with White Home COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients. People will begin receiving them “within the coming weeks” he added.
My drugstore doesn’t have any assessments. How can I get a free package from the federal government?
You’ll go to a brand new authorities web site to request a package, however the website received’t be working till after the primary batch of take a look at kits has been delivered to the federal government. “We’re clearly not going to place the web site up till there are assessments accessible,” White Home press secretary Jen Psaki mentioned final month.
The Postal Service will deal with achievement and cargo of assessments to People’ doorsteps, officers mentioned.
Which residence take a look at will I get?
It’s unclear. However Psaki famous that the Meals and Drug Administration has accepted a number of totally different manufacturers of speedy residence assessments which can be at the moment available on the market. Whereas they’re packaged otherwise and should use barely totally different procedures, officers mentioned, their mechanisms of detection and effectiveness are typically the identical.
Will I be restricted to at least one take a look at or can I request a number of?
To be decided. Officers are additionally engaged on insurance policies for the way ceaselessly folks can request a free take a look at. That’s anticipated to come back with a brand new give attention to educating People about finest practices for when they need to take a take a look at.
Why is Biden shopping for these take a look at kits?
It represents an acknowledgement by the president that the administration must do extra to extend entry to COVID-19 testing, which is a vital instrument to assist gradual the unfold of the coronavirus.
In circumstances the place contaminated folks present signs or not, testing is the one solution to discover out if they’ve the virus to allow them to keep away from being out and about and doubtlessly spreading illness.
READ MORE: As omicron continues to surge, households despair over return to distant studying
Demand for take a look at kits soared as the vacations neared and other people grew keen to check themselves and their households earlier than touring and because the simply transmissible omicron variant unfold quickly in only a few weeks to change into dominant pressure within the U.S.
Biden’s promise of 500 million take a look at kits is along with the administration’s earlier pledge to ship 50 million speedy assessments to group well being facilities throughout the nation.
How a lot will this system price?
The acquisition might be paid for with cash from the $1.9 trillion coronavirus reduction invoice Biden signed into legislation in March, the White Home mentioned. The precise price might be recognized quickly.
Is there one other solution to get a take a look at package without cost?
Beginning Jan. 15, non-public insurers might be required to cowl the price of at-home testing, the identical method they cowl the price of PCR lab assessments. Individuals may have the choice of shopping for assessments at a retailer or on-line, then looking for reimbursement from their medical health insurance supplier. These with public medical health insurance by means of Medicare or Medicaid, or with out insurance coverage, might be directed to the forthcoming web site to order assessments or to group well being facilities of their space providing free testing.
Will the federal government program make it more durable for me to discover a take a look at on the drugstore?
White Home officers say the federal government assessments are coming from new manufacturing capability and mustn’t intrude with current provides that drugstores, well being clinics and state governments are counting on.
“These are further assessments,” Zients mentioned, made doable by the truth that the FDA has licensed many new ones in the previous couple of months. “So, there’s much more capability for speedy assessments.”