Jan 29, 2022 - Health

Biden administration orders 100M additional COVID tests

at-home tests

COVID-19 antigen rapid test kits are pictured in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 30. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

The Department of Defense announced this week the purchase of an additional 100 million rapid COVID-19 tests that will be distributed to Americans for free.

Why it matters: The administration bought 500 million rapid tests in December and is now working to purchase an additional 500 million, so the U.S. will have 1 billion free tests available to Americans.

  • "On Jan. 26, 2022, the Department of Defense (DoD), in coordination with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), awarded a contract modification to iHealth Lab Inc.," the Pentagon said on Friday. "This effort supports the president’s plan to deliver 500 million free at-home COVID-19 tests to the nation in response to the Omicron variant."

The big picture: The website, COVIDTests.gov, has been accepting orders for COVID-19 tests since Jan. 19 with shipping expected within seven to 12 days after. Nearly 60 million U.S. households have ordered the at-home rapid tests so far.

  • The additional 500 million at-home COVID-19 tests were ordered in response to the Omicron variant and to ease the shortage of rapid tests in the country.
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