- CVS said the free N95 masks are expected to arrive in its stores as early as Thursday, including CVS pharmacies within Target stores.
- Walgreens began its free N95 mask program on Friday, Jan.28 in prime locations.
- Walmart plans to begin free distribution of N95 masks by the second week of February in Sam’s Club stores and locations.
As the government sends free COVID tests to families across the nation, 400 million free masks are also on the way.
Unlike free test kits ordered through a government website or hotline and shipped by the United States Postal Service, free N95 masks will be available for pickup at “tens of thousands” of cooperating community health centers and pharmacies. with the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign.
Although the White House has said the masks will be available for distribution starting this week, specific dates for all stores and locations are not yet available.
White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said Friday that it was the “largest deployment of personal protective equipment in US history.”
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“We have already shipped millions of these masks. And in the next few days, the masks will begin to be available in local pharmacies and community health centers across the country, ”Zients said.
Distribution of the bezels has already begun in Meijer and Hy-Vee stores and is expected at Walgreens later this week.
The masks will come from the country’s Strategic National Stockpile, which has tripled the supply of N95 masks to 750 million in the year since Biden took office. The White House has come under increasing pressure to make more protective masks available to the public rather than less protective fabric versions.
The free face masks add to the 30 million face masks the Biden administration distributed to food banks and community health centers last year and the 23.5 million face masks and respirators sent to states. On his first day in office, Biden stepped in to demand that masks be worn in federal buildings, planes and trains, and urged Americans to continue wearing masks in all indoor public settings.
How many free masks can I have?
Individuals will be limited to three masks per person to ensure broad access to the program, according to Kevin Munoz, assistant White House press officer.
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Which pharmacies will offer free N95 masks with government program?
Retail pharmacies participating in the federal retail pharmacy program vary by state and territory, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, which also lists a state-by-state breakdown. Here is the complete national list.
- Albertsons Companies, Inc. (including Osco, Jewel-Osco, Albertsons, Albertsons Market, Safeway, Tom Thumb, Star Market, Shaw’s, Haggen, Acme, Randalls, Carrs, Market Street, United, Vons, Pavilions, Amigos, Lucky’s, Pak n Save, save)
- Costco Wholesale Corp.
- CPESN USA, LLC
- CVS Pharmacy, Inc. (including Long’s)
- GeriMed (long-term care and retail pharmacies)
- Good Neighbor Pharmacy and the Administrative Organization of Pharmaceutical Services (PSAO) of AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation, Elevate Provider Network
- Health Mart Pharmacies
- EBS, LP
- Hy-Vee, Inc.
- Innovatix (long-term care pharmacies)
- Kroger Co. (including Kroger, Harris Teeter, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, Ralphs, King Soopers, Smiths, City Market, Dillons, Mariano’s, Pick-n-Save, Copps, Metro Market, QFC)
- LeaderNET and The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy, PSAO of Cardinal Health
- Managed Health Care Associates (retail and long-term care pharmacies)
- Meijer, Inc.
- Publix Super Markets, Inc.
- Retail Business Services, LLC (including Food Lion, Giant Food, The Giant Company, Hannaford Bros Co, Stop & Shop)
- Rite Aid Corp.
- Southeast Food (Winn-Dixie, Harveys, Fresco Y Mas)
- Topco Associates, LLC (including Acme Fresh Markets, Associated Food Stores, Bashas, Big-Y Pharmacy and Wellness Center, Brookshire’s Pharmacy, Super One Pharmacy, FRESH by Brookshire’s Pharmacy, Coborn’s Pharmacy, Cash Wise Pharmacy, MarketPlace Pharmacy, Giant Eagle, Hartig Drug Company, King Kullen, Food City Pharmacy, Ingles Pharmacy, Raley’s, Bel Air, Nob Hill Pharmacies, Save Mart Pharmacies, Lucky Pharmacies, SpartanNash, Price Chopper, Market 32, Tops Friendly Markets, ShopRite, Wegmans, Weis Markets , Inc.)
- Walgreens (including Duane Reade)
- Walmart, Inc. (including Sam’s Club)
Which health centers will distribute free N95 masks?
Through the Health Center’s COVID-19 N95 Face Mask Program for Healthcare Resources and Services Administration, eligible health centers can choose to participate to distribute free face masks to patients and people in their communities. The program is voluntary.
Approximately 100-200 health centers (listed in the hyperlink) are included in the initial phase and “should receive and begin distributing masks by the end of January 2022”. The program is expected to be expanded in the coming weeks.
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Free Walgreens N95 Faces available in hundreds of stores, coming soon to others
Walgreens began distributing masks in its first 45 stores as of January 28 and has since expanded to hundreds of locations nationwide.
“The masks have started rolling out in the first wave of stores and will continue to roll out to other stores in the coming days and weeks,” Walgreens said in a statement on its website Friday. “We expect all participating stores to be delivered by mid-February.”
The retailer said there will be “signage within the store indicating the store’s participation in the federal program” and that it will “frequently update the list of N95 mask program store locators as shipments arrive at the store. “. The website with the list of participating locations is Walgreens.com/N95StoreList.
N95 masks without CVS arriving as early as Thursday, also in pharmacies in Target and Schnuck’s stores
CVS told USA TODAY on January 26 that free N95 masks are expected to start arriving in CVS Pharmacy stores and its pharmacies within Target and Schnuck’s stores “as early as Thursday and will continue on an ongoing basis as more supplies become available. “.
In a statement, CVS said “signs will be posted to indicate the availability of the N95 mask.”
Distribution of Rite Aid N95 mask
“We expect free N95 masks to be available in select stores later this week and all stores will receive them by early February,” Rite Aid said in a statement to USA TODAY on Thursday. “Customers will be able to collect the masks, with a limit of 3 masks per person, at an in-store display or at the pharmacy counter while supplies last.”
Free Walmart N95 Face Masks Coming to Stores, Sam’s Club by “second week of February”
Walmart said in a statement to USA TODAY on Tuesday that the company expects “the masks will be available by the second week of February in front of more than 5,100 Walmart and Sam’s Club stores across the country.”
The masks will be available, while supplies last, and will be limited to three masks per person.
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Free distribution of the Hy-Vee mask
Hy-Vee spokesperson Christina Gayman said in a statement to USA TODAY that the company began receiving and distributing its first shipments of N95 masks on January 21.
“Right now, many Hy-Vee pharmacies have received and are distributing their mask assignments,” Gayman said Tuesday. “All 275 Hy-Vee pharmacies in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin will have face masks by tomorrow (Wednesday).”
Free Meijer N95 mask
Meijer, a Grand Rapids, Michigan-based retailer with more than 258 supercenters and grocery stores in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, and Wisconsin, said it received approximately 3 million face masks from the government.
The N95 masks will be in boxes on a table near the grocery store entrance and greeting kiosk. A Meijer receptionist, who will be wearing gloves, will arrange the three fleece masks for customers to bring.
Free distribution of Albertson’s N95 mask
Albertsons Companies operates banner stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia including Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen, Carrs, Kings Food Markets and Balducci’s Market for Food Lovers.
In a statement to USA TODAY, the company confirmed it was “participating in the federal government’s initiative to distribute non-surgical N95 masks nationwide for free in the coming weeks. We are currently working to finalize inventory and distribution details.”
Non-surgical N95 masks without Kroger
Kroger stores with pharmacies will distribute the free masks, the company told USA TODAY. More information is expected shortly. The grocer operates several regional supermarket chains in 35 states, including Fred Meyer, Harris Teeter, Ralphs, Mariano’s, Fry’s, Smith’s, King Soopers, QFC, and others.
Free Masks Arrive in Winn-Dixie Pharmacies, Southeastern Grocers “already Friday”
Southeastern Grocers said it plans to distribute more than 2 million N95 masks across all of its in-store pharmacies, including Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie. The masks will start arriving in the grocer’s pharmacies as early as Friday and “will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis,” the company said in a statement.
Are N95 masks better?
The CDC updated the information on masks on January 14 to recognize that some types of masks provide greater protection than others.
The agency also recognized that some types of masks may be more difficult to wear consistently than others and that it’s important to choose a mask that is comfortable and provides good protection. It also removed concerns about supply shortages.
“Masking is a vital public health tool for preventing the spread of COVID-19 and it is important to remember that any mask is better than no mask,” the CDC said in a statement. “To protect yourself and others from COVID-19, CDC continues to recommend wearing the most protective mask possible that fits well and that you will wear constantly.”
The updated guidelines come as many experts argue for increased protection of masks amid mounting evidence that common cloth masks are not protective enough against the latest variants of the virus.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.
Contributors: Joey Garrison, Christine Fernando and Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY
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