Biden announces ‘Test to Treat’ initiative, free COVID-19 antiviral treatment after positive test
President Biden announced during his State of the Union address on Tuesday that individuals who test positive for COVID-19 at a pharmacy will soon be able to get free antiviral treatments immediately after.
“We’ve ordered more pills than anyone in the world has. Pfizer is working overtime to get us a million pills this month and more than double that next month,” Biden said. “And now we’re launching the ‘Test to Treat’ initiative. So people can get tested at a pharmacy and, if they prove positive, receive the antiviral pills on the spot at no cost.”
“If you’re immunocompromised or have some other vulnerability, we have treatments and free high-quality masks. We’re leaving no one behind or ignoring anyone’s needs as we move forward,” he added.
The Food and Drug Administration has issued emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s Paxlovid and Merck’s molnupiravir COVID-19 antiviral oral treatments for mild to moderate cases of SARS-CoV-2.
According to a White House official, hundreds of these “one-stop shops” will be opening across in the U.S. this month in retail locations including CVS, Walgreens and Kroger. with the administration planning on growing the program over time.
“The Test to Treat Initiative will also include new actions to educate the public about the availability of new treatments and the importance of starting them soon after the onset of symptoms; provide information to health care providers about these new treatments; and distribute antiviral pills directly to long-term care facilities,” said the administration official.
During his address, Biden also announced that U.S. residents would be able to order another pack of free at-home COVID-19 tests beginning next week. Earlier this week, it was reported that nearly half of the 500 million free tests made available by the Biden administration remain unclaimed.