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Yes, you’ll need to make a request to get a free at-home COVID-19 test from the government

The federal government plans to purchase 500 million at-home rapid COVID-19 tests starting in January. Americans will need to request the free tests online.

The omicron variant of COVID-19 is now the most dominant strain of the virus in the United States, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. During a Dec. 21 speech at the White House, President Joe Biden announced new plans to help protect communities and hospitals across the country battle omicron. 

Biden said during his speech that the federal government plans to purchase 500 million at-home rapid tests with delivery starting in January, and promised the tests would be free to all Americans. Now some Twitter users are wondering how people will be able to get access to the tests

THE QUESTION

Do you need to make a request to get a free at-home COVID-19 test from the government?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is true.

Yes, you will need to make a request to get a free at-home COVID-19 test from the government.

WHAT WE FOUND

In order to access the free tests from the federal government, President Biden said Americans will be able to request the tests online.

"The federal government will purchase one half billion additional at-home rapid tests with delivery starting in January,” said Biden. “We will be getting these tests to Americans for free and will have websites where you can get them delivered to your home." 

White House press secretary Jen Psaki also confirmed the information during a press briefing held moments before Biden’s speech. She told reporters that people who want the tests delivered to their homes will be able to request them on a website. 

“To be clear, we’re not sending a test to every single home in the country,” said Psaki. “We are providing another opportunity or ability for people to go on a website and request a test if their preference is to get that test to their home.” 

As of November, there are 13 approved at-home rapid testing kits, according to the FDA.

In addition to the free tests, Biden said the federal government plans to set up emergency testing sites in areas that need additional testing capacity, like New York City, where testing wait times have been over an hour at some sites. The administration has also arranged for it to be easier for Americans to find free testing sites near them on Google.

“Just enter ‘COVID test near me' in the Google search bar and you can find a number of different locations nearby where you can get tested,” said Biden. 

More from VERIFY: Fact Sheet: COVID-19 omicron variant

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