MONTPELIER, Vt. – On Thursday, Jan. 6, Gov. Phil Scott announced that beginning the week of Jan. 9, the State of Vermont would use a program developed by the National Institutes of Health to deliver 500,000 recently acquired rapid Covid-19 tests to households across the state.
The program will surge rapid tests into communities and serve as a pilot to help state officials assess a broader delivery model where residents order tests online and have them delivered to their home. This is similar to a system President Biden has said the federal government will use to make rapid tests more readily available later in the month of January, but this program is in addition to that federal effort.
“Rapid tests are an important tool, but Americans need to be able to get them easily, quickly, and far more affordably,” said Gov. Scott. “In the near future, we anticipate rapid tests will be readily available at every local pharmacy for lower prices. But 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 NIH to get these 500,000 tests into households throughout Vermont and ‘testing’ the effectiveness of this delivery model.”
Vermonters should keep in mind that, “this is a pilot program.” Gov. Scott said Vermonters should have clear expectations about the goals and capacity of this pilot project.
The Governor also said that this pilot project does not replace, and should not be used to supplement, the Test to Stay programs in schools, preschools, and childcare centers.
Rapid, self-administered testing can disrupt the spread of Covid-19 that occurs. The Covid-19 tests are authorized for use by the FDA, provided free of charge, and the entire testing process can be managed privately at home.
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.
The state will announce additional details, and how to order, at a later date.