March 30, 2022 — President Joe Biden on Wednesday unveiled a federal web site that guarantees “one-stop procuring” at no cost masks and COVID-19 checks, vaccines, and coverings.
The web site, covid.gov, additionally features a checklist of pharmacies that will probably 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 mentioned at a information briefing. “These are pharmacies and different locations in your neighborhood the place you may get examined, and should you’re constructive, you may get life-saving remedies in a single cease.”
Quickly after his remarks, he received 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 in search of a vaccine or a booster, covid.gov encompasses a hyperlink to vaccines.gov, the place you possibly can go to discover a native vaccination heart. The general public also can 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 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 arduous to search out one supply to assist navigate all the pieces somebody would possibly have to combat COVID, says Jen Kates, PhD, senior vice chairman and director of world well being for the Kaiser Household Basis.
Covid.gov “is an efficient step ahead to deliver all the pieces 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 could develop into extra essential, 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 could run low if it doesn’t get no less than $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 mentioned provides would run out by the top of Could.
The president additionally famous that the federal government won’t have sufficient vaccines readily available this fall to offer each American a second booster shot, though he mentioned there are sufficient for these over 50 and immunocompromised individuals.
“Congress, we have to safe extra provide now,” Biden mentioned. “We will’t wait till we discover ourselves within the midst of one other surge to behave. It is going to 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 take a look at constructive for COVID-19 in a pharmacy or at a well being clinic can be eligible to obtain, straight away and freed from cost, one in all two antiviral drugs 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 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 therapy 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 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’ means to deal with sufferers could be restricted in some states by legal guidelines that govern the follow of drugs.
Certainly, docs’ teams have objected to pharmacists having the ability to dispense a medicine on to a affected person, due to the potential of negative effects. Pharmacists additionally aren’t more likely 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 kind and variety of pharmacies that might participate.
A lot of the test-to-treat pharmacies listed on covid.gov seem like massive chains, similar to CVS and Walgreens, or supermarket-affiliated pharmacies, though there additionally seem like some unbiased shops in some areas.