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How to get free N95 masks, which are coming to grocery stores and pharmacies : NPR

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How to get free N95 masks, which are coming to grocery stores and pharmacies : NPR

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Linsey Jones, a medical assistant working at a drive-through COVID-19 testing clinic, wears an N95 mask on Jan. 4 in Puyallup, Washington. The Biden administration will begin making 400 million N95 masks available to Americans for free starting this week.

Ted S. Warren/AP


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Ted S. Warren/AP

How to get free N95 masks, which are coming to grocery stores and pharmacies : NPR

 | News Today

Linsey Jones, a medical assistant working at a drive-through COVID-19 testing clinic, wears an N95 mask on Jan. 4 in Puyallup, Washington. The Biden administration will begin making 400 million N95 masks available to Americans for free starting this week.

Ted S. Warren/AP

Nearly a week after the Biden administration announced it would roll out 400 million free N95 masks to the public, the high-quality face coverings are starting to arrive in local pharmacies and grocery stores.

“Each person is entitled to up to 3 free masks pending availability,” the Department of Health and Human Services said.

The White House launched its latest effort to combat COVID-19 following new recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC now says that cloth masks are no longer as effective at preventing the spread of the highly contagious omicron variant and that people should wear an N95 or KN95 mask.

The coveted non-surgical N95 masks come from the national strategic stockpile, which has more than 750 million. The program should be in place and fully operational in early February.

Where can I get mine?

On Monday, Meijer, which operates more than 250 grocers and pharmacies throughout the Midwest, said stores received about 3 million masks.

“The N95 masks will be in boxes on a table near the Meijer Greeter stand by the entrance to the grocery store,” the company said. “The Greeter, who will be wearing gloves, will place the N95 masks in piles of three for customers to pick up.”

Kroger stores with pharmacies will also distribute the masks in all of the chain’s locations in the Midwest and Southwest. Spokeswoman Kristal Howard said the first mask allocation is expected to arrive on Thursday.

Walgreens is also participating in the distribution program and on Tuesday, spokesman Scott Goldberg told NPR that the masks will be made available free of charge while supplies last.

“We expect the first stores to begin offering masks on Friday, January 28 and continue on a rolling basis in the days and weeks thereafter,” Goldberg said, explaining that customers are limited to three masks per person. “Participating stores will have signage indicating mask availability.”

Likewise, CVS Pharmacy locations will also be offering free N95 masks in the coming weeks, spokesperson Matt Blanchette told NPR.

A full list of participating retailers is available here.

Hardest hit communities will have to wait a little longer

Although there are no restrictions on who can go to collect N95 masks from participating retailers, the reserve which has been reserved for many of the country’s poorest and most affected communities will not be sent out until a months, at least.

The White House said Monday more than 25 million N95 masks will be delivered from March through May to more than 1,300 community health centers across the country as well as 60,000 pantries and soup kitchens. .

“Two-thirds of people served by community health centers live in poverty, 60% are racial and/or ethnic minorities, and nearly 1.4 million are homeless,” the White House said, adding that people can take two. masks per person from their local community health center.

He said many of the approximately 300 food banks nationwide will also receive N95s.

How to get free N95 masks, which are coming to grocery stores and pharmacies : NPR

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