A plan laid out by COVID-19 testing experts to manufacture and send over 700 million rapid COVID-19 at-home tests to Americans ahead of the holidays was turned down by President Joe Biden’s administration.
A 10-page plan was presented by public health experts from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, the COVID Collaborative, and the Rockefeller Foundation on a Zoom call with White House officials.
But according to experts, in order to accomplish that, at least 732 million rapid at-home COVID-19 antigen tests needed to be produced per month and to be sent to American citizens ahead of the holidays.
“We did not have the capacity to manufacture over-the-counter tests at that scale,” a Biden official said.
As none of the companies could increase their capacity to match the proposed manufacturing demands, as only a few at-home tests had been approved by the FDA, the whole plan was rejected, according to Biden officials. The Biden administration instead worked to quickly monitor the FDA approval process for other rapid at-home tests in preparation.
As for now, the Biden administration is increasing the testing across the United States, as the new Omicron variant is becoming highly infectious.
For those affected by the Omicron variant surge, Biden wants his administration to provide 500 million free at-home COVID test kits, saying “I wish I had thought about ordering” the 500 million tests, “two months ago.”