WH: Contract to Purchase 500M At-Home Tests Not Expected Until Next Week
Binax Covid-19 testing kits are handed out in the Bensonhurst section of the Brooklyn borough of New York City on Dec. 23, 2021. (Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty)
By Solange Reyner | Wednesday, 29 December 2021 05:36 PM
The Biden administration won’t sign a contract to purchase 500 million at-home COVID-19 rapid tests until next week, White House COVID-19 Response Director Jeff Zients told reporters Wednesday.
"The Department of Defense and HHS are executing on an accelerated contracting timeline. Companies are already submitting information and we expect the contract to be completed late next week," Zients told reporters during a White House COVID-19 Response briefing.
"That means that the first deliveries from manufacturers will start in January. We'll set up a free and easy system, including a new website, to get these tests out to Americans," he added.
"We're actively working to finalize that distribution mechanism, which includes a website where people will be able to order tests for free, and we'll share more details in the weeks ahead — days and weeks ahead."
Biden last week announced that his administration will distribute 500 million free rapid tests to the public, but not until after the holidays, as the public demand for test kits soar.
"Bottom line, it's a lot better than it was. We're taking more steps to make it easier to get tested and get tested for free," Biden said of the renewed efforts. The at-home tests will be shipped free to Americans who request them starting in January.
Biden on Monday denied a report that he rejected a plan to boost COVID-19 holiday testing.
"We didn’t reject it," he told reporters when asked about a Vanity Fair piece that alleged his administration rejected the testing surge in October.