Vermont Launches First Phase Of Online Ordering & Delivery Of Rapid Covid-19 Tests
“While we wait for more details on President Biden’s rapid testing initiative, we are evaluating ways to simplify testing options,” said Governor Phil Scott. “It is our hope that rapid tests will be readily available at every local pharmacy for lower prices in the near future. We need to bridge the gap between where we are today and where things will be in the months ahead. That’s why we are partnering with the team at the National Institutes of Health to ‘test drive’ the effectiveness of this online ordering and home delivery model, while also surging thousands of tests into our communities.”
State officials note that this program is not the same as the rapid testing tools being implemented for schools and childcare programs, which along with long-term care facilities and nursing homes have been prioritized by the state. And though it is similar to the system President Biden has said the federal government will use to make rapid tests more easily available later in the month of January, this program is in addition to that federal effort.
The program was developed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and is expected to deliver up to 500,000 recently purchased rapid COVID-19 tests to households across the state in two phases, beginning with 350,000 tests. Details of when the 150,000 additional tests may be made available are still to be determined. The date will be set following review of lessons learned in the first round, the production timeline of the test manufacturer and other considerations.
Vermonters Should Have Clear Expectations: ‘This is a pilot project’
Governor Scott said Vermonters should have clear expectations about the goals and capacity of this pilot project and noted that the number of rapid tests is limited by national supply.
“As with every new program, there are going to be unanticipated challenges. Orders will be limited to one per household and will take one to two weeks for delivery. Each order will contain two test kits and each kit contains two tests, for a total of four tests per order,” said the Governor. “These tests are free to Vermonters, and while they will go very, very quickly, this pilot project is just one of several ways for Vermonters to get testing,” he added.
Vermont’s nation-leading testing system also includes testing through state PCR clinics, in addition to testing in schools and child care programs. Local pharmacies also receive regular shipments of rapid antigen tests, which are now required to be covered by insurance.
About the Rapid Tests to be Provided
Rapid, self-administered testing can help households disrupt the spread of COVID-19 and test out of isolation and quarantine. The COVID-19 tests provided through this pilot program are authorized for use by the FDA, provided free of charge, and the entire testing process can be managed privately at home. The tests require a quick swab inside each nostril, and results can be read in just 10-15 minutes. The maker of the tests to be distributed, Quidel, is the same company that made the first rapid flu tests used by doctors’ offices in the United States.
The Say Yes! COVID Test initiative is a partnership with the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, test manufacturer Quidel, and healthcare technology company CareEvolution.
Participating Vermonters will need to provide their name and address for test kit delivery, which will not be shared. No additional personal information will be required to get a free rapid test kit.