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Biden Administration Allocates $600 Million for At-Home COVID-19 Tests and Relaunches Ordering Platform

by Lucas Garcia
8 comments
COVID-19 tests funding

The Biden administration revealed on Wednesday its plan to allocate $600 million toward the production of new at-home COVID-19 testing kits. Additionally, a previously deactivated website will be reactivated, enabling Americans to once more order a maximum of four free tests per household. This action aims to avert potential test shortages, particularly during seasonal spikes in coronavirus infections that are usually observed in colder months.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) indicated that individuals can place their orders at COVIDTests.gov starting from September 25. The tests will be delivered at no charge to the recipients, courtesy of the United States Postal Service.

The federal agency also disclosed that twelve manufacturers operating in seven states have been granted funding. These manufacturers will collectively produce 200 million over-the-counter tests to both restock federal reserves for governmental use and to fulfill online test demands. This strategy is designed to protect against the supply chain disruptions that have previously led to shortages in at-home COVID tests manufactured abroad.

Dawn O’Connell, the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at HHS, stated that the website will continue to accept orders throughout the holiday season. She added, “Should case numbers begin to rise, we retain the option to extend the site’s operational timeframe.”

O’Connell emphasized the administration’s commitment to meeting public demand for these tests. “Our primary focus at the moment is to navigate through the holiday season, ensuring that individuals can test themselves before family gatherings such as Thanksgiving,” she said.

The forthcoming tests are formulated to detect the existing strains of the COVID-19 virus and are slated for utilization by year’s end. They will also come with guidelines on how to confirm any extended expiration dates, according to HHS.

This new funding round represents the fifth such federal initiative, following four earlier stages during which more than 755 million free tests were sent to American households through collaborations between federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service.

The program is also intended to augment existing federal measures that offer free COVID tests to specialized settings like long-term care facilities, educational institutions, housing for low-income seniors, uninsured individuals, and underserved communities. To date, these programs are already disseminating 4 million tests weekly and have distributed a total of 500 million tests.

O’Connell further elaborated that manufacturers have an 18-month timeframe to disperse the 200 million tests intended for federal reserves. This allows manufacturers to adapt production based on fluctuating demand from both online orders and retail outlets in the U.S., especially during periods of heightened COVID cases.

O’Connell noted that historically, cases have tended to rise in the colder months, saying, “Each winter season has shown an uptick in COVID-19 cases as people tend to congregate indoors.”

While acknowledging the potential emergence of new variants, O’Connell clarified that the initiative is not in anticipation of such developments, but rather to prepare for a potential increase in cases in the upcoming fall and winter months.

Xavier Becerra, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, praised the initiative stating, “The Biden-Harris Administration, in collaboration with domestic manufacturers, has significantly improved the resilience of the U.S. supply chain by decreasing dependency on foreign production.”

Becerra added, “These pivotal investments will elevate our country’s domestic production capabilities for at-home COVID-19 rapid tests, thereby contributing to efforts to control the virus’s spread.”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Biden administration COVID-19 test funding

What is the Biden administration’s new initiative regarding COVID-19 testing?

The Biden administration has announced a $600 million funding allocation to produce new at-home COVID-19 testing kits. Additionally, they are relaunching a website that allows Americans to order up to four free tests per household.

When will the website for free COVID-19 test orders be available?

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has indicated that the website, COVIDTests.gov, will be operational starting September 25.

How will the tests be delivered?

The United States Postal Service will deliver the tests at no cost to the recipients.

Who are the manufacturers involved in this initiative?

Twelve manufacturers operating in seven states have been granted funding to produce 200 million over-the-counter tests. These tests will replenish federal stockpiles and also meet the public demand for tests ordered online.

Will the website be operational during the holiday season?

Yes, the website will continue to accept orders throughout the holiday season. The administration retains the option to extend the site’s operational timeframe if case numbers begin to rise.

What types of COVID-19 strains will the tests detect?

The tests are formulated to detect existing strains of the COVID-19 virus and are slated for utilization by the end of the year.

Are there any other federal initiatives for COVID-19 testing?

Yes, this program complements existing federal efforts that offer free COVID tests to specialized settings like long-term care facilities, educational institutions, low-income senior housing, and underserved communities.

Over what time frame will the 200 million tests be produced?

Manufacturers have an 18-month timeframe to produce the 200 million tests intended for federal reserves.

What is the primary aim of this new funding round?

The primary aim is to avert potential test shortages, particularly during seasonal spikes in coronavirus infections, and to ensure that tests are available for family gatherings such as Thanksgiving and other holidays.

Has the U.S. made similar efforts before?

Yes, this is the fifth federal initiative for COVID-19 testing. More than 755 million free tests have already been sent to American households in previous rounds.

More about Biden administration COVID-19 test funding

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8 comments

Sarah Johnson September 20, 2023 - 9:41 pm

Kinda skeptical about how effective this’ll be. we’ve had so many rounds of free tests already but case numbers still high.

Reply
Mike Thompson September 21, 2023 - 12:40 am

Interested to see which manufacturers are involved. gotta make sure these tests are reliable and not just quickly produced.

Reply
Robert Williams September 21, 2023 - 5:08 am

I dont get it, why relaunch a website? Couldn’t they just update the existing one. Any tech folks here to explain?

Reply
Karen White September 21, 2023 - 7:08 am

200 million tests sounds like a lot but spread over 18 months? Wondering if that’ll really be enough, you know.

Reply
Steven Brown September 21, 2023 - 8:26 am

Ah, politics. Funding goes here, funding goes there, but the question remains: is it being spent wisely?

Reply
Linda Clark September 21, 2023 - 2:18 pm

this is exactly what we need, especially for family gatherings. thanksgiving last year was a disaster without tests.

Reply
Emily Davis September 21, 2023 - 5:00 pm

Finally some good news! Been hard to get tests at times, specially around the holidays. hope this helps.

Reply
John Smith September 21, 2023 - 6:56 pm

So they’re throwing another $600 million at this huh. Don’t get me wrong, testing is important, but wheres all this money coming from? Our taxes?

Reply

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