With the CDC now suggesting extremely protective N95 masks to combat rising cases of Covid-19′s omicron variant, and President Biden
promising to provide 450 million N95 masks to pharmacies and health care services in the coming weeks, you may be wondering how to
obtain them — especially for free.
These masks are not always easy to come by. While the availability of N95 masks — which filter out at least 96 percent of air particles has
grown less rare for healthcare personnel, the masks can still be difficult to obtain in stores or in stocks when trying to purchase them online.
The CDC does not expressly suggest N95s, just that you wear the “most protective mask you can that works well and that you will regularly
use.” However, according to the CDC’s new recommendations, N95 masks provide the “highest level of protection,” followed by comparable
respirator masks like the KN95 and KF94 or well-fitting disposable surgical masks, which are better than cloth masks, which provide the
However, counterfeit respirator masks are common. According to the CDC, 60% of KN95 respirators — the Chinese counterpart of the N95
failed to fulfil National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) inspection regulations. As a result, you should be cautious about
where you buy masks and be aware of which ones to purchase.
The easiest approach to guarantee you’re getting NIOSH-approved masks is to acquire them from a healthcare provider. Beginning coming
weeks, the Joe Biden administration will begin providing three free N95 masks to anybody who visits a community health centre, as well as
partnering pharmacies and businesses such as CVS, Costco, and Walmart.
You can discover a medical facility near you here, and you can check which pharmacists and merchants in your state are participating in this
initiative here. Nevertheless, you should contact ahead for availability, as the programme will not be “completely operational” until early February,
as per a White House official.
You may also seek exclusive distributors for well-known brands such as Bona Fide Masks, Project N95, and well before. If you’re shopping on a
site with a lot of different merchants, such as Amazon, stick to buying from recognised manufacturers.
While the CDC stated that KN95s and KF94s are quite efficient, these masks are produced to Chinese and South Korean standards, instead of
American standards. As a result, there is no CDC-approved producer list for these sorts of masks.
In such circumstances, determining whether KN95s and KF94s are forgeries becomes more difficult. When it comes to purchasing, larger merchants
and well-known, reputable providers, such as 3M, are your best chance. CNBC Select has a list of a few of the finest KN95 masks here, and Project
N95 has a list of some of the top KN95 masks here. Because these masks are famous, stocks may be limited or unavailable.
Appropriate N95s should have head straps and an “approval holder” designation inscribed on the mask, that should describe the product’s producer
or brand recognition. On the mask, search for a four-digit “part number” or “product code.”
Fake KN95s and KF94s are more difficult to detect without NIOSH clearance. As previously said, sticking with established or trusted sellers is your
best strategy, however there are some things to check for.
KF94s are round and lesser pointed than KN95s, and are mostly manufactured in South Korea, though some are also manufactured in China,
according to CNET. It’s more probably a forgery if it’s created in China. Look for a red, white, and blue seal or phrase on the package indicating
that the product has been authorised by South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.