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Free Government-Issued N95 Masks Are Coming to a Store Near You. Here’s How to Get Them.

Free Government-Issued N95 Masks Are Coming to a Store Near You. Here’s How to Get Them.

Nearly a week after the Biden administration announced it will deploy 400 million free N95 masks to the public, the high-quality face coverings are starting to arrive at pharmacies and grocery stores. The White House launched its latest effort to combat COVID-19 following new recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC now says cloth masks are no longer as effective in preventing the spread of the highly contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus and that people should wear an N95 or KN95 mask.

The widely coveted nonsurgical N95 masks are coming from the Strategic National Stockpile, which has more than 750 million of them on hand. The program, which is also distributing the free masks to community health centers around the country, is ramping up in the coming days and should be up and fully operational by early February.

FILE – Linsey Jones, a medical assistant working at a drive-up COVID-19 testing clinic, wears an N95 mask, Jan. 4, 2022, in Puyallup, Wash., south of Seattle. The Biden administration will begin making 400 million N95 masks available for free to Americans starting next week, now that federal officials are emphasizing their better protection against the omicron variant of COVID-19 over cloth face coverings. The White House announced Wednesday that the masks will come from the government’s Strategic National Stockpile, which has more than 750 million of the highly protective masks on hand. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

 

“Every person is allowed up to 3 free masks pending availability,” the Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement.

Stores such as Kroger, Meijer, CVS, and Walgreens should be receiving their supplies as soon as this weekend, with other pharmacies participating as well. The CDC has a list of participating pharmacies in the Federal Pharmacy Retail Program, initially set up for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, that will be giving out masks.

As of now, there are only three free N95 masks being distributed per person. If you want more than three, you’ll need to buy them. Several merchants specialize in NIOSH-certified N95 mask sales, as well as KN95 masks and KF94 masks, with reasonably fast shipping.

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