The U.S. plans to boost its COVID-19 testing capacity by purchasing more than 100M additional at-home rapid COVID tests from local manufacturers despite funding constraints ahead of a potential increase in demand in the fall and winter.
The news comes less than a week after the Biden administration closed its program of providing Americans with free COVID-19 at-home tests through the mail from the COVIDTests.gov website due to insufficient congressional funding.
“While insufficient to adequately replenish our existing stockpile of at-home tests, this procurement will help meet some testing needs in the months ahead and will put us in a better position to manage a potential increase in testing demand this fall and winter,” The White House said in a statement on Thursday.
However, the press release did not state if the ordering through the COVIDTests.gov website, which has delivered more than 600M tests, would resume following the new procurement.
“And, it will further the Administration’s goal of mobilizing and strengthening the domestic testing manufacturing industrial base,” the White House added.
The U.S. has already secured access to more than 170M updated COVID-19 boosters to deliver for free through the winter and fall.