Free N95 face masks now available at some pharmacies in Washington – KING5.com

Up to three face masks are available for every person in the United States.

SEATTLE — You can now pick up free N95 face masks at some pharmacies and health centers around western Washington.

Earlier this month, the Biden administration announced it would send 400 million non-surgical N95 masks to locations across the country for Americans to pick up for free to help protect them against the COVID-19 omicron variant.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said there will be a limit of three free N95 masks per person through the program, which is set to be up and fully running by early February. However, masks are already available at some locations.

“I got them,” said Seattle resident Mikey Hoyle. “They’re giving them away for free at Bartell’s right now.”

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Bartell Drugs in downtown Seattle posted a sign on its door saying people can pick up three N95 masks. A Bartell Drugs on Lake City Way NE also had masks available Sunday morning, but some stores said they are still waiting for shipments.

The Washington State Department of Health said Sunday that a list of participating pharmacies is not yet available. However, the White House said the masks would be available at pharmacies and community health centers that have partnered with the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some partner pharmacies in Washington include:

  • Albertsons Companies, Inc (including Safeway)
  • Costco Wholesale Corp.
  • CVS Pharmacy, Inc
  • Kroger Co. (including Fred Meyer and QFC)
  • Rite Aid Corp.
  • Walgreens
  • Walmart, Inc.

A full list of partners in Washington can be found on the CDC’s website. For details on health centers participating in the program, the Health Resources & Services Administration provides more information on its website.

The masks come from a stockpile from the federal government. The shipment is the largest deployment of personal protective equipment in U.S. history.

Earlier this month, the CDC updated its guidance on face coverings to more clearly state that properly fitted N95 and KN95 masks offer the most protection against COVID-19. Still, it didn’t formally recommend N95s over cloth masks.

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