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 dwelling. However regardless of excessive public demand for exams, 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 GOVERNMENT HAVE THE TESTS?
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 exams. The primary contract, totaling $51.6 million, was awarded Thursday and extra contracts might be signed within the coming weeks, officers mentioned. 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 predicted to get supply of the primary batch of exams “over the subsequent week or so,” in keeping with White Home COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients. Individuals 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 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 exams out there,” White Home press secretary Jen Psaki mentioned final month.
The Postal Service will deal with success and cargo of exams to Individuals’ doorsteps, officers mentioned.
Not a Trendy Healthcare subscriber? Enroll at the moment.
WHICH HOME TEST WILL I GET?
It is unclear. However Psaki famous that the Meals and Drug Administration has accepted a number of completely different manufacturers of speedy dwelling exams which can be at present available on the market. Whereas they’re packaged otherwise and will use barely completely different procedures, officers mentioned, their mechanisms of detection and effectiveness are usually 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 the way incessantly folks can request a free take a look at. That is anticipated to return with a brand new deal with educating Individuals about greatest practices for when they need to take a take a look at.
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 vital software to assist gradual the unfold of the coronavirus.
In circumstances the place contaminated folks present signs or not, testing is the one approach to discover out if they’ve the virus to allow them to keep away from being out and about and doubtlessly spreading illness.
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 just some 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 exams to group well being facilities throughout the nation.
HOW MUCH WILL THE PROGRAM COST?
The acquisition might be paid for with cash from the $1.9 trillion coronavirus reduction invoice Biden signed into regulation in March, the White Home mentioned. The precise value might be identified quickly.
IS THERE ANOTHER WAY TO GET A TEST KIT FOR FREE?
Beginning Jan. 15, non-public insurers might be required to cowl the price of at-home testing, the identical manner they cowl the price of PCR lab exams. Folks could have the choice of shopping for exams at a retailer or on-line, then in search of reimbursement from their medical insurance supplier. These with public medical insurance by means of Medicare or Medicaid, or with out insurance coverage, might be directed to the forthcoming web site to order exams or to group 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 exams are coming from new manufacturing capability and shouldn’t intervene with current provides that drugstores, well being clinics and state governments are counting on.
“These are further exams,” Zients mentioned, made attainable by the truth that the FDA has approved many new ones in the previous few months. “So, there’s much more capability for speedy exams.”