Free at- home tests return September 25

by Mescalero Apache Tribe | September 22, 2023 4:00 pm

Arm yourself against COVID-19 – vaccinate and receive free tests for added peace of mind. 

SANTA FE — Yesterday, the Biden administration announced that it is providing $600 million in funding to produce new at-home COVID-19 tests and is restarting a website allowing Americans to again order up to four free tests per household — aiming to prevent possible shortages during a rise in coronavirus cases that has typically come during colder months. 

“Don’t wait for symptoms to appear! Get ahead of the curve with free COVID-19 tests delivered to your doorstep,” said Patrick Allen, secretary for New Mexico Department of Health. “Order now and stay one step ahead of the virus.” 

The federal Department of Health and Human Services says orders can be placed at[1] starting Sept. 25, and that no-cost tests will be delivered for free by the United States Postal Service. 

The tests are designed to detect COVID variants currently circulating and are intended for use by the end of the year. But they will include instructions on how to verify extended expiration dates, the department said. 

The New Mexico Department of Health recommends everyone 6 months and older get an updated COVID-19 vaccine to protect against the potentially serious outcomes of COVID-19 illness this fall and winter. 

In addition, everyone is eligible for and should get the flu vaccine, especially adults 65 and older and pregnant people in their first and second trimesters, according to the CDC. Co-infections of COVID-19 and the flu can be severe. Vaccination is your best protection from respiratory viruses, and it’s important to get the flu vaccine before the height of flu season. Getting your vaccine in September or October is highly recommended. 

“Double your protection, double your peace of mind. Get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the flu this season to keep yourself and your community safe,” said Miranda Durham, MD, New Mexico Department of Health Medical Director. 

To find an appointment, members of the public can view the interactive map at[2] or schedule appointments directly with pharmacies and healthcare providers. Some New Mexico providers have reported delays in vaccine deliveries, so if you can’t find an appointment immediately, please be patient. Those interested in accessing their vaccine history can do so at[3]. Support for login issues is available through the NMSIIS Help Desk at 833-882-6454. 

COVID-19 vaccines remain readily accessible at no cost through private health insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid. Uninsured individuals can receive the COVID-19 vaccine free of charge through a network of health centers, public health offices, and participating pharmacies in the CDC’s Bridge Access Program[4], ensuring universal vaccine access. 

Vaccination remains the most effective defense against COVID-19-related hospitalization, death, and the lingering effects of Long COVID[5]. If you haven’t received a COVID-19 vaccine in the past two months, consider getting an updated dose to safeguard yourself this fall and winter. 

Flu and RSV vaccines are readily available at healthcare providers and pharmacies throughout the state. If you need assistance with scheduling, contact the DOH Call Center at 1-855-600-3453, which is available M-F 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and weekends 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

For more information about DOH’s Immunization Program visit the website[6]. 

  4. Bridge Access Program:
  5. Long COVID:
  6. website:

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