Government to distribute free masks for kids

The federal government is developing plans to distribute free high-quality face masks for children, according to White House officials. 

"We are now in the process of planning for the distribution of masks for children," Tom Inglesby, MD, senior adviser to the White House COVID-19 response team, said during a Feb. 16 briefing. "We'll have more to say about that in the days ahead. But there's a commitment to do that." 

It's unclear what kind of masks would be distributed for children or whether smaller sizes would be distributed for children younger than 5, who remain ineligible for vaccination. 

Dr. Inglesby added that the process to get free masks to all U.S. adults through pharmacies is underway, with 230 million already delivered to pharmacies and community health centers. The Biden administration in January announced plans to send 400 million free nonsurgical N95 masks. 

In separate pandemic response news, federal officials said about 50 million Americans have received shipments of free rapid COVID-19 tests since mid-January.


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