Free COVID pills are coming to pharmacies, Biden says

The Americans will soon be able to be screened and treated for COVID-19 in the same location, President Joe Biden said on Tuesday, after reviewing new steps his administration is taking to end the global coronavirus pandemic.

Later this month, people who test positive in pharmacies and public health centers across the country will be eligible for free antiviral pills.

“People can get tested at a pharmacy and, if they test positive, get antiviral pills on the spot for free,” Biden said in a speech on the state of the Union.

Biden said the U.S. should receive an initial shipment of 1 million Pfizer treatment pills in March and “more than double” in April, making it easier for his administration to offer free coronavirus treatment to individuals who have a positive outcome.

A White House spokesman said “hundreds of sites” would open at CVS, Walgreens and Kroger locations across the country, as well as additional sites. The administration also plans to send antiviral pills to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

The official said Pfizer is speeding up the supply of antiviral pills, which have been found to significantly reduce the chances of death and hospitalization of adults infected with COVID-19. Earlier, the United States announced that it had purchased 20 million courses of treatment from the company.

With the new initiative, the federal government seeks to “minimize the time between a positive test result and receiving effective treatment with COVID-19, including antiviral pills and monoclonal antibodies,” the official said.

FILE – Youngstown City Health Officer Faith Terry picks up two test kits for COVID-19 at home to be distributed during a distribution event on December 30, 2021, in Youngstown, Ohio. Nearly half of the 500 million free tests on COVID-19 that the Biden administration recently made available to Americans have not yet been declared because virus cases are declining sharply and people feel less in need of testing. (AP Photo / David Dermer, File) David Dermer AP

Americans will also be able to sign up for additional tests at home for free through the federal website, Biden said. Starting next week, households will be able to request four additional tests covidtests.orgsaid the White House.

In his speech, Biden said the country was “moving forward safely”, returning to “more normal routines” as COVID cases fell sharply.

“We do not leave anyone behind and do not ignore someone’s needs, moving forward,” he said.

This story was originally published March 1, 2022 8:48 p.m.

Francesca is a senior White House correspondent for McClatchy. She is a reporter, an Emmy Award winner, known for her coverage of campaigns, elections and the White House. It has covered three presidencies, starting with former President Barack Obama, and White House applications from many Democrats and Republicans, including Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and former President Donald Trump. Francesco is a board member of the White House Correspondents Association and a graduate of the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Kansas.

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