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The COVID Emergency is Ending Making Test Kits, Treatments and Vaccines No Longer Free

The COVID Emergency is Ending Making Test Kits, Treatments and Vaccines No Longer Free

With the COVID-19 public health emergency set to expire on May 11, time is running out for consumers to get free vaccines, at-home rapid test kits and some treatments.


This month, the White House announced that many of the policies designed to combat the spread of COVID-19 will be ending at the start of summer. After that, the price and overall future of COVID-19 tests, vaccines and treatments will vary. Here is the breakdown:



Up until this point, the federal government has been purchasing COVID-19 vaccines from manufacturers. According to NPR, “It recently bought 105 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent booster for about $30.48 a dose, and 66 million doses of Moderna’s version for $26.36 a dose.” As long as the supplies last, people will be able to continue to get the vaccines at little to no cost. After that, according to NPR, Pfizer and Moderna have indicated that they plan to raise the price of each dose.


Test Kits

The government is still offering up to four test kits per household while supplies last and consumers can still get test kits through their insurance plan each month until the public health emergency ends. However, according to NPR, “beneficiaries in original Medicare and many people with private, job-based insurance will have to start paying out-of-pocket for the rapid antigen test kits.” Policies will vary.



Once the emergency ends, it is unclear whether COVID-19 treatments like Paxlovid will be covered completely by insurers. “Public policy experts say many private insurers will continue to cover Paxlovid, although patients may face a copayment, at least until they meet their deductible, just as they do for other medications,” per NPR.


For full details about what is likely to happen after the public health emergency expires, be sure to check out this article.

Image of vial of COVID-19 vaccine.
Image courtesy: Lisa Ferdinando
Maggie Caraway