March 30, 2022 — President Joe Biden on Wednesday unveiled a federal web site that guarantees “one-stop purchasing” free of charge 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 to 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 may get examined, and in case you’re constructive, you may get life-saving remedies in a single cease.”
Quickly after his remarks, he bought a second booster of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The FDA and CDC authorized the fourth dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines on Tuesday for Individuals over 50 and other people over 18 who meet particular circumstances.
For Individuals on the lookout for a vaccine or a booster, covid.gov incorporates a hyperlink to vaccines.gov, the place you may go to discover a native vaccination heart. The general public can even use covid.gov to order free checks for dwelling supply (customers are taken to covidtests.gov) and to search out free masks, through a hyperlink to a CDC webpage.
You may search covid.gov by handle 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 companies.
All through the pandemic, it’s been exhausting to search out one supply to assist navigate all the things somebody would possibly must struggle COVID, says Jen Kates, PhD, senior vice chairman and director of worldwide well being for the Kaiser Household Basis.
Covid.gov “is an effective step ahead to carry all the things underneath 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 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 might run low if it doesn’t get at the least $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 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 offer each American a second booster shot, though he stated there are sufficient for these over 50 and immunocompromised folks.
“Congress, we have to safe extra provide now,” Biden stated. “We are able to’t wait till we discover ourselves within the midst of one other surge to behave. It will likely be too late.”
Take a look at-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 constructive for COVID-19 in a pharmacy or at a well being clinic can be eligible to obtain, straight away and freed from cost, considered one of two antiviral drugs licensed by the FDA — Pfizer’s Paxlovid or Merck’s molnupiravir. Each should be taken inside 5 days after signs seem to forestall severe sickness.
Biden stated that 2,000 areas throughout the U.S. would now provide 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 services.
Kates says the test-to-treat idea is essential, however “the execution goes to be exhausting.” 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’ potential to deal with sufferers is perhaps restricted in some states by legal guidelines that govern the apply of drugs.
Certainly, medical doctors’ teams have objected to pharmacists having the ability to dispense a medicine on to a affected person, due to the potential of unwanted side 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 issues that this system may solely be carried out by shops with on-site clinics, which might restrict the kind and variety of pharmacies that would participate.
A lot of the test-to-treat pharmacies listed on covid.gov seem like giant chains, equivalent to CVS and Walgreens, or supermarket-affiliated pharmacies, though there additionally seem like some unbiased shops in some areas.