March 30, 2022 — President Joe Biden on Wednesday unveiled a federal web site that guarantees “one-stop purchasing” totally free masks and COVID-19 checks, vaccines, and coverings.
The web site, covid.gov, additionally features a record of pharmacies that will likely 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 stated at a information briefing. “These are pharmacies and different locations in your neighborhood the place you will get examined, and if you happen to’re constructive, 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 licensed the fourth dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines on Tuesday for Individuals over 50 and folks over 18 who meet particular situations.
For Individuals searching for a vaccine or a booster, covid.gov contains a hyperlink to vaccines.gov, the place you’ll be able to go to discover a native vaccination middle. The general public may also use covid.gov to order free checks for residence supply (customers are taken to covidtests.gov) and to search out free masks, by way of a hyperlink to a CDC webpage.
You’ll be able to search covid.gov by deal with or ZIP code to search out close by pharmacies, federally certified neighborhood well being facilities, Indian Well being Service websites, or Veterans Affairs (VA) clinics that supply test-to-treat companies.
All through the pandemic, it’s been onerous to search out one supply to assist navigate the whole lot somebody may must combat COVID, says Jen Kates, PhD, senior vp and director of world well being for the Kaiser Household Basis.
Covid.gov “is an efficient step ahead to carry the whole lot 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 companies might change into extra necessary, Kates says.
Some states and localities have been closing down websites due to a decline in demand and case counts. There’s additionally a priority amongst states that they will be unable to proceed if federal cash to reimburse for checks, vaccines, and coverings dries up.
The White Home has been warning that provides might run low if it doesn’t get at the least $22.5 billion in emergency funds to combat the pandemic. Congress has not but agreed on whether or not to approve that request.
Within the meantime, the White Home has diminished shipments of monoclonal antibodies to states by a 3rd, and Biden stated provides would run out by the tip of Could.
The president additionally famous that the federal government is not going to have sufficient vaccines available this fall to present each American a second booster shot, though he stated there are sufficient for these over 50 and immunocompromised individuals.
“Congress, we have to safe further provide now,” Biden stated. “We are able to’t wait till we discover ourselves within the midst of one other surge to behave. Will probably 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 take a look at constructive for COVID-19 in a pharmacy or at a well being clinic can be eligible to obtain, immediately and freed from cost, one among two antiviral tablets licensed by the FDA — Pfizer’s Paxlovid or Merck’s molnupiravir. Each have to be taken inside 5 days after signs seem to stop severe sickness.
Biden stated that 2,000 areas throughout the U.S. would now supply test-to-treat, together with 240 federally certified neighborhood well being facilities, Indian Well being Service websites, VA well being clinics, and greater than 60 Division of Protection medical therapy services.
Kates says the test-to-treat idea is necessary, however “the execution goes to be onerous.” However “we all know as quickly as you get a analysis, the earlier you get on therapy, the higher.”
She says COVID-related provide points with checks, vaccines, and particularly remedies like Paxlovid are going to create challenges. And pharmacists’ capability to deal with sufferers is perhaps restricted in some states by legal guidelines that govern the observe of medication.
Certainly, docs’ teams have objected to pharmacists having the ability to dispense a drugs on to a affected person, due to the opportunity of unintended effects. Pharmacists additionally aren’t prone to know somebody’s full medical historical past, teams such because the American Medical Affiliation have stated.
And pharmacies have considerations that this system might solely be carried out by shops with on-site clinics, which might restrict the sort and variety of pharmacies that would participate.
A lot of the test-to-treat pharmacies listed on covid.gov look like giant chains, reminiscent of CVS and Walgreens, or supermarket-affiliated pharmacies, though there additionally look like some impartial shops in some areas.