White House Authorities committed to make 400 million approved N95 masks accessible to Americans for free in order to strengthen
the country’s defences against COVID-19. However, buyers may have to hunt around to find one.
The free face covers will be distributed this week, according to major drugstore chains. The move comes as public health officials
advocate for the adoption of greater quality masks, such as N95.
A properly fitting N95 mask filters 95% of airborne particles, while KN95 masks provide a comparable level of protection. Cloth masks
and any other coverings that does not fit correctly provide significantly less safety against COVID-19.
A representative for Hy-Vee, a grocery chain with locations in the Midwest and South, said the first shipments of government-issued N95
masks, which cost around $3 to $5 each, arrived on Friday.
A business spokeswoman told CBS MoneyWatch, “At this time, several Hy-Vee pharmaceutical stores have collected and are distributing
their mask allocations.”
The spokesman stated that all 274 Hy-Vee pharmacies in Illinois, Kansas, lowa, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, and
Wisconsin should have masks by the middle of this week. Hy-Vee is a participant in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program (FRPP), which
was established to increase access to the COVID-19 vaccination.
This week, a shop employee at a Hy-vee store in Iowa City, Iowa, reported the business receive a delivery of government-issued N95 masks.
They are accessible from the store and “are going pretty fast,” according to the worker.
CVS Pharmacy, which is also a member of the FRPP, reported the free N95 masks will be available in shops in the “coming days” when
government shipments arrive. There were no free N95 masks available for collection at any CVS Pharmacy store nationwide this week.
“Our initiative to provide highest-quality masks as part of this programme is an aspect of our commitment to ensuring equal access
to the equipments needed to battle COVID-19, including as testing, vaccinations, and approved medicines,” a spokesman said in a statement.
Moreover, each customer would only be allowed one mask each.
Another big supermarket chain, Kroger, anticipates receiving an allotment of N95 masks, later this week for its shops with pharmacies. “I
recommend everybody to take the free N95 masks and schedule an appointment to get vaccinated,” Kroger’s chief medical officer, Dr. Marc
Watkins, said in a statement.
Southeastern Grocers, announced that its pharmacies will stock 2 million government-issued N95 masks starting Saturday, distributing
them “as available and while supplies last.”
The Office of the Preparation and Response, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health Services, announced last week that it has 700
million NIOSH- N95 masks in the Strategic National Supply and will have plenty 300 million for health care employees after the payment.
Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, Dawn O’Connell, said in a statement that ASPR began sending the masks to stores
and community health centres.
“It’s one way we’re bringing highest-quality masks to the Americans,” she added in a statement. According to ASPR, this really is the
“biggest deployment of personal protection equipment in history.”
In addition to stores, community health clinics covering a broad cross-section of the U.S. population will distribute free masks. As per
the Health Resources and Services Administration, between 100 and 200 health facilities would acquire Strategic National Stockpile masks
during the program’s initial phase. The masks are planned to be distributed in this month.