Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, and more are handing out free N95 masks. Here's how to get yours.
N95 masksare now available at pharmacies and health centers nationwide.
Rite Aid, and CVShave masksat some locations, and more will become available soon.
Free N95 masks are starting to become available at local health centers and major pharmacy chains nationwide.
The Biden administration announced January 19 that it would send 400 million masks to pharmacies and community health centers in a new effort to help slow the spread of
Masks were shipped out last week and are already being distributed at pharmacies across the country. Here's what you need to know, and how to get yours.
Where can I get a free mask?
Masks will be available at almost all locations that participated in the government's vaccine distribution program, which includes both national chains and independent pharmacies and health centers, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The new mask program is intended to provide access to high-quality masks to underserved communities and to those who have been most impacted by the pandemic — community health centers are key to reaching that population, according to the Health Resources and Service Administration. The initial phase of the program includes between 100 and 200 health centers and will be expanded in the coming weeks — a full list of participating health centers is available on the HRSA website.
Several national pharmacy chains have already received shipments of masks as well. Rite Aid currently has free masks available at some locations and expects to be fully stocked by early February, a company spokesperson told Insider.
At CVS, masks are expected to begin to arriving at some locations on Friday and will continue "on a rolling basis as additional supply becomes available," a CVS spokesperson said.
Walmart has said it will have the masks by the second week of February, and that the masks will be available near the front of the store at more than 5,100
Regional chains with pharmacies, such as Hy-Vee, Meijer, Albertsons, Kroger, and Southeastern Grocers — which owns Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket, and Winn-Dixie — will also be distributing free masks in the coming weeks.
Are the masks really free?
Yes! You do not need to make a purchase at participating pharmacies and health centers in order to receive your free masks.
How many free masks can I get?
There is a limit of three masks per person.
Do I need insurance or an ID to get a free mask?
What size are the masks?
The Biden administration is currently distributing adult-sized masks, but plans to start handing out "high-quality" masks for children in the future, the Journal reports.
Why should I wear an N95 mask over other types of masks?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said earlier this month that N95 masks provide the best protection against the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
As Insider's Hilary Brueck reported, N95 masks that are manufactured and worn correctly are able to filter out at least 95% of particles in the air. While the masks were in short supply early on the pandemic, they are now widely available to consumers and provide the best protection against the virus.
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