Government’s free COVID tests by mail program being suspended as of Sept. 2
Distribution could “expeditiously resume” if Congress provides funding, a senior Biden administration official said. Otherwise, remaining tests will be reserved for when there’s greater need.
Beginning Sept. 2, the Biden administration will suspend taking orders for free at-home COVID-19 tests because of limited supply, according to a senior official who said the government needs to preserve tests for a potential rise in infections this fall.
Free tests no longer will be available through COVIDTests.gov.
Tests still are being distributed for free through other ways, including at 15,000 federally supported community sites such as libraries and pharmacies and through community health centers. People also can be reimbursed for tests through private and public health insurance plans.
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The administration says it has to limit distribution of tests because Congress hasn’t approved funding to replenish the nation’s stockpile.
The senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the move had not been announced, said the federal governments would work “within its limited existing resources” to secure as many additional tests as possible. The official did not say how many tests are left.
Earlier this year, the White House asked for as much as $22.5 billion in new funding to pay for tests, vaccines, therapeutics and research.
Republicans have said the money can be found by repurposing other funds. And some Democrats objected to a plan to get some of the money by taking back previously awarded coronavirus relief funding for states. Democrats now hope to include emergency coronavirus funding in the package of pending bills needed to fund the government after September.
Distribution could “expeditiously resume” if Congress provides funding, the senior administration official said. Otherwise, the remaining tests will be reserved for when there’s greater need.
The government has distributed more than 600 million tests through COVIDTests.gov since the program began in January. Households were able to place three orders for a total of 16 tests.
Read more at usatoday.com.