More free COVID tests available to order from government
Why it matters: The release of additional tests comes days ahead of Thanksgiving and the busy holiday travel season, which has corresponded with a surge in coronavirus cases in recent years.
Meanwhile, fewer Americans are expected to be boosted for the holidays.
- About 6 in 10 adults who previously got a COVID-19 vaccine have not received an updated shot this fall — and about half of them don't plan to get one, Axios' Jason Millman reports from a new KFF survey.
Flashback: The at-home COVID test program first launched in January 2022 and initially allowed for four free tests per residential address, regardless of how many lived in a household.
- It expanded in March and in May before being suspended last September. It was revived in December before shutting down on May 31 and revived again this September.
How to order COVID test kits from USPS
What's happening: Starting Nov. 20, households can order four free tests through COVIDTests.gov, which directs people to a U.S. Postal Service site.
- If you have not placed an order since the program reopened on Sept. 25, you can place two orders for a total of eight tests, the website says.
- New orders will ship starting the week of Nov. 27, per USPS.
Between the lines: For those who can't order tests through the website, there's also a government hotline for help placing orders, 1-800-232-0233 or TTY 1-888-720-7489.
By the numbers: The Biden administration has distributed over 1.6 billion free tests including more than 800 million tests through the COVID tests website, the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR), a department within the Department of Health and Human Services, told Axios.
- In the program's fifth round of ordering, which opened in September, 58 million tests have been distributed.
COVID test expiration dates
The tests in this new round of ordering will be good through at least March, an ASPR spokesperson told Axios.
- Consumers are advised to check the FDA website to confirm expiration dates before throwing away tests.
The Food & Drug Administration has extended the expiration dates for several over-the-counter COVID tests, adding several months to the "use by" date.
- A full list of approved COVID-19 tests and their revised expiration dates is posted on the FDA website.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional information throughout.
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