The place are the COVID-19 assessments that Biden promised?

President Joe Biden introduced final month that the federal authorities will purchase half a billion COVID-19 fast check kits and distribute them free to folks to make use of at house. However regardless of excessive public demand for assessments, it’ll nonetheless be a number of extra weeks earlier than these kits can be found to be shipped, White Home officers stated.

DOES THE GOVERNMENT HAVE THE TESTS?

Not but. This week marked the shut of an preliminary bidding interval for check producers to use to the departments of Protection and Well being and Human Companies for contracts to make the assessments. The primary contract, totaling $51.6 million, was awarded Thursday and extra contracts shall be signed within the coming weeks, officers stated. All 500 million kits is not going to arrive on the identical time. They are going to be delivered in batches over months.

WHEN WILL THE TEST KITS BE DELIVERED?

The federal authorities is anticipated to get supply of the primary batch of assessments “over the subsequent week or so,” in response to White Home COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients. People will begin receiving them “within the coming weeks” he added.

MY DRUGSTORE DOESN’T HAVE ANY TESTS. HOW CAN I GET A FREE KIT FROM THE GOVERNMENT?

You’ll go to a brand new authorities web site to request a equipment, however the web site gained’t be working till after the primary batch of check kits has been delivered to the federal government. “We’re clearly not going to place the web site up till there are assessments out there,” White Home press secretary Jen Psaki stated final month.

The Postal Service will deal with success and cargo of assessments to People’ doorsteps, officers stated.

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WHICH HOME TEST WILL I GET?

It is unclear. However Psaki famous that the Meals and Drug Administration has permitted a number of totally different manufacturers of fast house assessments which are at the moment in the marketplace. Whereas they’re packaged otherwise and will use barely totally different procedures, officers stated, their mechanisms of detection and effectiveness are typically the identical.

WILL I BE LIMITED TO ONE TEST OR CAN I REQUEST MULTIPLE?

To be decided. Officers are additionally engaged on insurance policies for a way ceaselessly folks can request a free check. That is anticipated to return with a brand new give attention to educating People about greatest practices for when they need to take a check.

WHY IS BIDEN BUYING THESE TEST KITS?

It represents an acknowledgement by the president that the administration must do extra to extend entry to COVID-19 testing, which is a crucial device to assist gradual the unfold of the coronavirus.

In instances 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 probably spreading illness.

Demand for check kits soared as the vacations neared and folks grew keen to check themselves and their households earlier than touring and because the simply transmissible omicron variant unfold quickly in just some weeks to turn out to be dominant pressure within the U.S.

Biden’s promise of 500 million check kits is along with the administration’s earlier pledge to ship 50 million fast assessments to neighborhood well being facilities throughout the nation.

HOW MUCH WILL THE PROGRAM COST?

The acquisition shall be paid for with cash from the $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid invoice Biden signed into legislation in March, the White Home stated. The precise value shall be recognized quickly.

IS THERE ANOTHER WAY TO GET A TEST KIT FOR FREE?

Beginning Jan. 15, non-public insurers shall be required to cowl the price of at-home testing, the identical means they cowl the price of PCR lab assessments. Folks may have the choice of shopping for assessments at a retailer or on-line, then looking for reimbursement from their medical insurance supplier. These with public medical insurance by Medicare or Medicaid, or with out insurance coverage, shall be directed to the forthcoming web site to order assessments or to neighborhood well being facilities of their space providing free testing.

WILL THE GOVERNMENT PROGRAM MAKE IT HARDER FOR ME TO FIND A TEST AT THE DRUGSTORE?

White Home officers say the federal government assessments are coming from new manufacturing capability and shouldn’t intrude with present provides that drugstores, well being clinics and state governments are counting on.

“These are further assessments,” Zients stated, made doable by the truth that the FDA has approved many new ones in the previous few months. “So, there’s much more capability for fast assessments.”

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