The Biden administration, eyeing a possible winter surge of COVID-19, introduced Wednesday that it’s reviving its program to supply free coronavirus exams to People by mail, and can spend $600 million to buy exams from dozens of home producers.
Program web site, covidtests.govPurposes will start being accepted Monday, and households will obtain 4 exams. The cash will fund the acquisition of 200 million exams to replenish the nation’s stockpile because the exams are despatched out, stated Don O’Connell, assistant secretary for preparedness and response on the Division of Well being and Human Providers.
However Ms O’Connell stated a byproduct of this system was that it will enhance native manufacturing capability within the occasion of one other critical surge in coronavirus. She stated that if there was a spike in demand, the ministry had given producers permission to promote the exams on to retailers earlier than the federal government.
Hospitalizations as a result of coronavirus have been growing in the US, though they’re nonetheless low in comparison with earlier durations of the pandemic, and free exams are actually troublesome to acquire for a lot of People. Whereas non-public insurers have been beforehand required to cowl as much as eight dwelling exams per 30 days, that requirement ended when the Biden administration allowed the coronavirus public well being emergency to run out in Might.
The administration first started providing free at-home coronavirus exams by way of the Postal Service early final 12 months after the Omicron variant induced circumstances to spike. Greater than 600 million exams have been distributed earlier than officers halted this system late that summer time, as a result of lack of funding. Then the administration resumed offering exams late final 12 months Stop the program Once more this spring.
The announcement got here Wednesday as President Biden’s well being secretary, Xavier Becerra, tried to drum up curiosity in newly accepted coronavirus vaccines by getting his personal COVID and flu pictures at a CVS pharmacy in Washington. The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention really helpful final week that every one People ages 6 months and older obtain no less than one dose of the reconstituted vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
With the CEOs of Pfizer and Moderna standing by his aspect, Becerra recalled his mom, who’s about to show 90 and who, he stated, didn’t have Covid-19.
He stated: “I really feel relieved, after I obtained the doses, as a result of I can hug my mom and kiss her and never be answerable for her contracting the illness,” including: “Nobody is secure till everyone seems to be secure.”