The Biden administration had recently put forth an initiative to supply high quality, domestically manufactured N95 masks for free; to help Americans combat the highly transmissible omicron variant that is surging through the U.S. Major pharmaceutical companies including Walmart have begun preparing to distribute these free masks to the people.
Pharmacies and community centers across the nation will get a shipment of 400 million N95 masks. The masks have been sourced from the Strategic National Stockpile. They will be shipped to those pharmacies and community centers who have enrolled in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program across the nation.
A White House official said that shipments are expected to begin this week and the Biden administration is hoping that the program will be fully operational early next month. Federal officials said that each person who comes to pick up their masks can get three N95 masks. Although health officials say that N95 masks offers more effective protection against the omicron variant that causes COVID-19, cloth masks can also be worn.
Walmart recently released a statement which said that masks will be available from late next week at the front of select stores of Walmart as well as some Sam’s Club stores.
The statement said that Walmart had worked to meet the need of the communities from the beginning of the pandemic. The big box retailer had helped keep communities “safe and healthy” by setting up COVID testing sites. The retailer also said that the company has administered “tens of millions of vaccines and boosters” and has dispensed “oral antiviral medications” that have been authorized for use to treat COVID-19.
The statement from Walmart added that the retailer was proud to continue to serve their customers, members and associates by distributing masks as “part of the US Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.”
Apart from Walmart, other pharmacies in the nation including CVS, Walgreens and Kroger stores with pharmacy attached, will also start distributing N95 masks next week onwards.