March 30, 2022 — President Joe Biden on Wednesday unveiled a federal web site that guarantees “one-stop buying” totally free masks and COVID-19 checks, vaccines, and coverings.

The web site, covid.gov, additionally features a record of pharmacies that might be a part of the brand new “test-to-treat” program.

“You’ll additionally be capable of discover our new test-to-treat areas,” Biden mentioned at a information briefing. “These are pharmacies and different locations in your neighborhood the place you will get examined, and when you’re optimistic, you will get life-saving remedies in a single cease.”

Quickly after his remarks, he acquired a second booster of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The FDA and CDC approved the fourth dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines on Tuesday for People over 50 and other people over 18 who meet particular situations.

For People searching for a vaccine or a booster, covid.gov incorporates a hyperlink to vaccines.gov, the place you may go to discover a native vaccination middle. The general public may also use covid.gov to order free checks for dwelling supply (customers are taken to covidtests.gov) and to search out free masks, by way of a hyperlink to a CDC webpage.

You may search covid.gov by tackle or ZIP code to search out close by pharmacies, federally certified group well being facilities, Indian Well being Service websites, or Veterans Affairs (VA) clinics that supply test-to-treat providers.

All through the pandemic, it’s been arduous to search out one supply to assist navigate every part somebody may must struggle COVID, says Jen Kates, PhD, senior vp and director of worldwide well being for the Kaiser Household Basis.

Covid.gov “is an efficient step ahead to deliver every part below one web roof,” she says. A one-stop store “will facilitate entry.”

As states, counties, and cities start shuttering their very own government-funded applications, having the ability to simply discover websites for COVID-related providers could turn out to be extra essential, Kates says.

Some states and localities have been closing down websites due to a decline in demand and case counts. There may be additionally a priority amongst states that they won’t be able to proceed if federal cash to reimburse for checks, vaccines, and coverings dries up.

The White Home has been warning that provides could run low if it doesn’t get a minimum of $22.5 billion in emergency funds to struggle the pandemic. Congress has not but agreed on whether or not to approve that request.

Within the meantime, the White Home has lowered shipments of monoclonal antibodies to states by a 3rd, and Biden mentioned provides would run out by the top of Could.

The president additionally famous that the federal government is not going to have sufficient vaccines available this fall to offer each American a second booster shot, though he mentioned there are sufficient for these over 50 and immunocompromised folks.

“Congress, we have to safe extra provide now,” Biden mentioned. “We are able to’t wait till we discover ourselves within the midst of one other surge to behave. It is going to be too late.”

Check-to-Deal with Challenges

The president introduced the test-to-treat initiative in his State of the Union speech on March 2. The concept is that individuals who check optimistic for COVID-19 in a pharmacy or at a well being clinic could be eligible to obtain, instantly and freed from cost, considered one of two antiviral tablets approved by the FDA — Pfizer’s Paxlovid or Merck’s molnupiravir. Each have to be taken inside 5 days after signs seem to forestall severe sickness.

Biden mentioned that 2,000 areas throughout the U.S. would now supply test-to-treat, together with 240 federally certified group well being facilities, Indian Well being Service websites, VA well being clinics, and greater than 60 Division of Protection medical remedy amenities.

Kates says the test-to-treat idea is essential, however “the execution goes to be arduous.” However “we all know as quickly as you get a prognosis, the earlier you get on remedy, the higher.”

She says COVID-related provide points with checks, vaccines, and particularly remedies like Paxlovid are going to create challenges. And pharmacists’ skill to deal with sufferers is likely to be restricted in some states by legal guidelines that govern the follow of medication.

Certainly, medical doctors’ teams have objected to pharmacists having the ability to dispense a drugs on to a affected person, due to the potential of unwanted effects. Pharmacists additionally aren’t prone to know somebody’s full medical historical past, teams such because the American Medical Affiliation have mentioned.

And pharmacies have issues that this system might solely be carried out by shops with on-site clinics, which might restrict the sort and variety of pharmacies that might participate.

A lot of the test-to-treat pharmacies listed on covid.gov seem like massive chains, reminiscent of CVS and Walgreens, or supermarket-affiliated pharmacies, though there additionally seem like some impartial shops in some areas.



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