Take-home COVID-19 self-test kits provided by the District of Columbia government, which is offering city residents four free take-home tests per day, are seen in this photo taken on January 11, 2022.
Evelyn Hockstein Reuters
Americans on Tuesday began placing orders for free Covid tests promised by the Biden administration after the federal government launched the site a day earlier than expected – some complained on social media about being blocked from doing so were to order their own supplies.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the website covidtests.gov is in the testing phase and will officially launch Wednesday morning. Orders placed during the site’s testing period on Tuesday are valid and will be shipped, White House spokesman Kevin Munoz told CNBC.
Each household is limited to four tests based on residential address. The White House said last week it has limited the number of tests people can order to ensure broad access to the program.
Tests can be ordered here: https://www.covidtests.gov/
After clicking “Order Free Home Trials,” the website directs customers to a Postal Service order form where they enter their name and address before proceeding to checkout.
The Postal Service will conduct the ship tests 7 to 12 days after the order is placed, the Biden administration said. The website said on Tuesday that the orders would be shipped by the end of the month.
While some customers said the site was simple and easy to use, others — particularly people who live in apartment buildings — reported problems in social media posts on Tuesday.
“Any website launch, in our view, comes with risks,” Psaki told reporters during a White House briefing on Tuesday. “We cannot guarantee that there will be zero or two errors. But the best technical teams in the administration and the postal service are working hard to make this a success,” she said.
The White House launched the site after a public outcry over the widespread lack of testing during the busy holiday travel season as the highly contagious Omicron Covid variant swept the country. Pharmacies, large and small, have struggled to stock home tests as demand suddenly surged.
President Joe Biden said the government is getting a total of 1 billion home tests to distribute free to Americans. The Department of Defense awards the tests in coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services.