How to order free at-home COVID tests ahead of the holidays

Giving girl nasal swab for COVID rapid test.

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Experts are warning that there will be a surge of COVID-19 cases after the holidays. If you’re traveling during the holiday season or hosting a family party, you can take steps to protect yourself by wearing a mask and by testing for COVID before you start to rock around the Christmas tree. And right now, you can get COVID-19 testing kits for free.

In an attempt to decrease the post-holiday surge in COVID cases, the Biden administration has reinstated the U.S. government’s free at-home testing program. The program ended in September, but as hospital beds reach capacity with flu, RSV and COVID patients, Americans can once again receive free at-home COVID-19 tests.

In order to receive your free tests, click here to visit the government’s COVID test website. Click Order Free At-Home Tests, then just fill out your name and address. If you give your e-mail address, you’ll receive shipping notifications from the U.S. Postal Service. Then click Check Out Now — your order is free, so it’ll show $0 due to USPS.

Free COVID-19 tests start shipping out today, Dec. 19. Each household can receive four free tests, so let your friends and family know so they can stock up and stay safe, too.

Along with testing, the Biden administration is also urging Americans to get their COVID-19 booster. Dr. Ashish Jha, White House’s COVID-19 coordinator, sat down with ABC’s “This Week” to emphasize the importance of getting the updated bivalent vaccine.

For those who might think, “But I just got my COVID shot earlier this year,” Dr. Jha says we need to rethink the way we consider COVID-19 shots, saying they’re something we will need regularly, just like the flu shot.


“I got my flu shot last year. I don’t expect that to protect me this winter,” he said. “I go out and get my flu shot every winter, in the same way people have to go out and get their COVID shot.”

While Dr. Jha says he believes it is safe to gather for the holiday season, he says if Americans get their COVID-19 booster ahead of holiday celebrations, it will help to reduce the strain on hospitals.

“The good news here is that we can prevent those infections from turning into serious illness if people go out and get that updated bivalent vaccine,” Dr. Jha told ABC on Sunday.

By Bridget Sharkey, for Scripps News

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