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President Biden unveils 'test to treat' COVID-19 initiative

The “test to treat” initiative enables people to get tested for COVID-19 at a pharmacy, and if they’re positive, receive antiviral pills on the spot at no cost.

In his first State of the Union Address, President Biden laid out his administration’s plans to continue to combat COVID-19,  namely a “test to treat” initiative that includes free antiviral treatments, and additional free masks.  

In announcing the initiative, Biden first urged Americans to stay protected with vaccines and treatments.

“We know how incredibly effective vaccines are. If you’re vaccinated and boosted you have the highest degree of protection. We will never give up on vaccinating more Americans,” Biden said.

[Read more: NACDS reminds legislators of role pharmacies, pharmacists played during pandemic]

Biden also indicated the understanding of parents with children under age 5 years old who are eager to see an authorized vaccine for the younger demographic. 

“The scientists are working hard to get that done and we’ll be ready with plenty of vaccines when they do,” President Biden said during his address. “We’re also ready with anti-viral treatments. If you get COVID-19, the Pfizer pill reduces your chances of ending up in the hospital by 90%. We’ve ordered more of these pills than anyone in the world. And Pfizer is working overtime to get us one million pills this month and more than double that next month.”

Biden followed with the announcement of a “test to treat” initiative so people can get tested at a pharmacy, and if they’re positive, receive antiviral pills on the spot at no cost. 

[Read more: Biden administration to distribute free masks, purchase additional 500M COVID-19 tests]

“If you’re immunocompromised or have some other vulnerability, we have treatments and free high-quality masks. We’re leaving no one behind or ignoring anyone’s needs as we move forward,” Biden said. “And on testing, we have made hundreds of millions of tests available for you to order for free.”

Lastly, the president shared that those who have already ordered free COVID-19 tests will be able to order more if necessary beginning in the next week. 

“We must prepare for new variants. Over the past year, we’ve gotten much better at detecting new variants. If necessary, we’ll be able to deploy new vaccines within 100 days instead of many more months or years,” Biden said. “And, if Congress provides the funds we need, we’ll have new stockpiles of tests, masks, and pills ready if needed.”

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