Biden administration announces $600M to produce COVID tests and will reopen website to order them

by Sophia Chen
COVID-19 tests funding

On Wednesday, the Biden administration revealed a $600 million initiative to boost the production of at-home COVID-19 tests. Additionally, the administration is relaunching a website to enable American households to request up to four free tests, a move aimed at averting potential shortages during the typical increase in coronavirus cases in colder months.

The Department of Health and Human Services has announced that from September 25, people can place orders for these complimentary tests at COVIDTests.gov, with the United States Postal Service delivering them at no charge.

This funding supports twelve manufacturing companies across seven states, ranging from California to Maryland. These firms are tasked with producing 200 million over-the-counter tests to replenish federal reserves for government use and satisfy the demand for online test orders.

This initiative is designed to counter previous shortages of at-home COVID tests, which were mainly manufactured overseas, especially during earlier surges in coronavirus cases. It also reflects President Joe Biden’s political strategy as he approaches reelection. He is highlighting his administration’s role in navigating the worst of the pandemic while preparing for the ongoing impacts of the virus.

Dawn O’Connell, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at HHS, emphasized the continuing importance of at-home testing in controlling new infections, despite public fatigue over the pandemic. She noted the expectation of increased virus circulation and case numbers in the fall and winter and stressed the importance of ensuring public access to testing tools.

The website will stay active for orders through the holiday season, with the possibility of extending its operation if case numbers rise. O’Connell highlighted the goal of providing these tests for free, especially during the holiday season when family gatherings are common.

These tests, capable of detecting current COVID variants, are intended for use by year-end, but will include instructions for verifying extended expiration dates.

This effort adds to previous rounds where the federal government and U.S. Postal Service distributed over 755 million tests nationwide. It also complements ongoing federal initiatives offering free COVID tests to various groups, including long-term care facilities, schools, and underserved communities, with over 500 million tests already distributed.

Manufacturers will spread the production of 200 million tests for federal use over 18 months, allowing them to focus on fulfilling orders during periods of high demand.

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra highlighted the administration’s efforts in strengthening domestic production of at-home COVID-19 rapid tests and reducing dependence on foreign manufacturing, stating that these investments are crucial in controlling the spread of the virus.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about COVID-19 tests funding

What is the Biden administration’s recent initiative regarding COVID-19 tests?

The Biden administration has announced a $600 million funding initiative to increase the production of at-home COVID-19 tests. Alongside this, they are reopening a website to allow American households to order up to four free tests, in anticipation of potential test shortages during the colder months when virus cases typically rise.

How can Americans order free COVID-19 tests?

Americans can order their free at-home COVID-19 tests through the website COVIDTests.gov starting from September 25. The tests will be delivered at no cost by the United States Postal Service.

What is the purpose of the $600 million funding by the Biden administration?

The funding is aimed at supporting twelve manufacturers in seven states to produce 200 million over-the-counter COVID-19 tests. These tests are intended to replenish federal stockpiles for government use and meet the demand for tests ordered online, thereby preventing shortages during surges in coronavirus cases.

How does this initiative address supply chain issues?

This new effort is designed to prevent the shortages of at-home COVID tests that occurred previously, which were largely manufactured overseas. It aims to ensure a steady domestic supply of tests, particularly during times of increased demand in the fall and winter seasons.

What are the long-term plans for the distribution of these COVID-19 tests?

The Department of Health and Human Services plans to keep the ordering website functional through the holidays, with a possibility of extending its operation if there’s an increase in COVID-19 cases. The tests are designed to detect current variants and include instructions for verifying extended expiration dates.

How does this initiative complement ongoing federal COVID-19 efforts?

This initiative adds to the federal government’s ongoing efforts to provide free COVID tests to various groups, including long-term care facilities, schools, and underserved communities. To date, over 500 million tests have been distributed, and the current initiative aims to further strengthen this effort.

More about COVID-19 tests funding

  • Biden Administration’s COVID-19 Response
  • Order Free COVID-19 Tests
  • Health and Human Services (HHS) Initiatives
  • U.S. Postal Service Delivery Information
  • Public Health Policies and COVID-19
  • Winter Health Measures and COVID-19
  • American Healthcare System Updates
  • Pandemic Preparedness and Response
  • Domestic Manufacturing of COVID-19 Tests
  • Federal COVID-19 Testing Programs

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Mike Johnson November 21, 2023 - 12:24 am

hey guys did you hear about this? the gov’s really stepping up with these free tests, about time we got somethin like this.

SarahK November 21, 2023 - 1:22 am

lol, $600M? where’s all this money coming from anyway? our taxes I guess…

Dave_the_Rave November 21, 2023 - 7:21 am

Gotta say, its good to see some action on this front. Been a nightmare trying to get tests during the last surge.

EcoWarrior91 November 21, 2023 - 7:31 am

interesting move, but what about the environmental impact of all these tests?

PoliticsNerd November 21, 2023 - 9:29 am

classic election year move, Biden’s really pushing for that reelection, huh.

Jenny_from_the_block November 21, 2023 - 12:05 pm

finally! free tests should’ve been a thing from the start, better late than never i suppose.


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