Biden to announce ‘Winter Plan’ to fight off COVID-19

Photo (c) Paul Biris - Getty Images

The administration is opening more vaccination sites and distributing millions of free test kits

If anyone needs proof that President Biden is serious about getting Americans vaccinated against and tested for COVID-19, then all they need to do is tune into a speech he’ll be giving on Tuesday. 

According to a White House press statement, the president is expected to address the COVID-19 pandemic and his new “Winter Plan,” which will include a vow to mail out nearly 500 million free at-home tests, establish new federal testing sites, and create mobile “pop-up” vaccination sites. 

“Today, the President is announcing his Administration will purchase a half-billion at-home, rapid tests this winter to be distributed for free to Americans who want them, with the initial delivery starting in January 2022,” the White House said in a statement. “The Administration will stand up a website where Americans can go to get at-home tests delivered to their home—for free.”

What’s included in the expanded effort

In Biden’s plan to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, Americans can expect the following measures:

Robust Access to Free Testing: Biden administration officials say they have already created 20,000 free testing sites across the U.S. and made four times as many at-home tests available to Americans than were available this summer. But with the Delta and Omicron variants continuing to spread, they feel more must be done.

To that end, expanded efforts will include two important elements:

  • New testing sites designed to help states and major cities that need additional testing capacity. New York City will be the first target, and more sites will be established after that.

  • Giving Americans access to 500 million at-home COVID-19 test kits, with distribution set to begin in January 2022.

The White House stated that it will use the Defense Production Act (DPA) and other authorities to make sure the U.S. is producing as many COVID-19 tests as quickly as possible. However, officials did not address how many tests Americans can order at one time or how long it will take those tests to be delivered.

Expanding Capacity to Get Americans Vaccinated: In addition to the 90,000 vaccination sites that can currently be found across the country, Biden is expected to announce new steps that Americans can take to get themselves and their loved ones vaccinated this winter. Here’s what people can expect:

  • New “pop-up” vaccination sites that can easily traverse the country and get to areas where there are fewer vaccination clinics. As an example, the White House said it’s putting four new mobile units into action across New Mexico this week to bolster vaccination availability for Native American tribes.

  • Additional flexibility for pharmacies to add additional vaccinators, appointments, and capacity to their networks. The White House said hundreds of new vaccination sites that are designed just for kids will also be opened in January.

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