Recipients will include nursing homes, assisted living facilities, home healthcare, hospice organizations, historically black colleges and universities, Native American tribes and other vulnerable groups, the agency announced.
The 30 million tests are in addition to the 150 million Abbott BinaxNOW tests that HHS and the Department of Defense bought in August and allocated to the states. Shipments of the original state allotments of BinaxNOW tests are expected to be completed in January 2021.
HHS also announced it plans to continue to provide weekly shipments of SARS-CoV-2 sample collection supplies such as swabs and transport media to states and territories through at least March 2021 and likely longer. And the agency is working with the General Services Administration to streamline the process for states, territories, and other government agencies to purchase point-of-care diagnostic tests, starting with BinaxNOW.
A contract between the federal government and Abbott Diagnostics Scarborough will enable states, territories and tribes to purchase tests at a fixed price. The contract eliminates the need for states and territories (as well as federal agencies) to negotiate and individual purchasing contracts with manufacturers and, most importantly, provides a consistent source of supplies, according to HHS. State officials complained early in the pandemic that they were competing with each other and the federal government for critical supplies, including personal protective equipment.
The maximum number of tests that states and territories will be able to purchase each month will be predetermined to help ensure adequate supplies for all on an ongoing basis. The program is expected to launch in mid-January.