It's been talked about, but the link is finally here.  In an effort to make testing more accessible to everyone who lives in the United States, the federal government is offering free COVID-19 tests to every home in the country with a website that went live today.

A half-billion tests were bought using federal funds and are being made available to all who sign up.

According to details released by the government as part of the ramp-up to provide them, the tests being made available are the "FDA-authorized at-home rapid antigen tests". These kits will be able to provide a result for the user within 30 minutes of the sample being taken.

Eligibility is pretty simple.  Every home in the United States can sign up to receive four free at-home COVID-19 tests.  There is no cost associated with them.  Once you sign up, you can expect to receive them via the U.S. Postal Service within 7 to 12 days.

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To get started, visit covidtests.gov.  The only details you'll need to provide are name and shipping address information.

Because the tests you order today won't get to you for a week or two, the federal government is urging people who need more-immediate testing results to utilize the vast array of other sources for COVID-19 tests.  Specifically, they recommend one of two sources to obtain faster test kits:

  • Use one of the at-home test kits that are readily available at retailers and pharmacies.  While supplies can sometimes be diminished by demand, there are a wide variety of stores that have them available.  (In other words - if you don't find a test kit at one store, keep looking)
  • There are more then 20,000 free testing sites located around the country.  These no-cost antigen and PCR COVID-19 tests are available to everyone at no cost - including the uninsured.  Click here to find the closest site to you.

One word about the tests you find at pharmacies and retailers.  While there is a cost involved with the purchase, health insurance companies will pay you back for 8 at-home tests per month for each person on the plan.  Click here for full details.

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What Do I Do If I Lose My COVID-19 Vaccination Card?

When you get your COVID-19 vaccine, you're handed a card that details the date, manufacturer variety, and location of your dose. If you're getting one of the two-dose vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna), you'll need that card to coordinate your second and final dose. But even with the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine and even after getting the second shot, you'll need to keep that card in a safe place.

While nationwide vaccine mandates aren't a thing at the present time, there are a variety of times you might need that card even after completing the vaccine process. Many schools (primary, secondary, and higher education) are requiring the COVID-19 vaccine similar to other vaccinations. Additionally, some entertainment venues and mass transportation are requiring either proof of a negative COVID test or the vaccine card.

So what happens if you lose it? Relax. There are ways of obtaining a replacement - and they differ slightly whether you've lost it before getting both doses or after.

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Answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

Vaccinations for COVID-19 began being administered in the U.S. on Dec. 14, 2020. The quick rollout came a little more than a year after the virus was first identified in November 2019. The impressive speed with which vaccines were developed has also left a lot of people with a lot of questions. The questions range from the practical—how will I get vaccinated?—to the scientific—how do these vaccines even work?

Keep reading to discover answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions.