(WWLP) – The Biden administration will begin making millions of N95 masks available for free to Americans starting next week.

This will be the largest distribution of free masks by the federal government to the public since the pandemic began. Federal officials say N95 masks give better protection against the omicron variant over those cloth face coverings.

The masks will come from the government’s Strategic National Stockpile which has more than 750 million masks on hand. They will be available for pickup starting next week at pharmacies and community health centers across the country like Walgreens and CVS.

A website launched this week for Americans to order four rapid tests to be shipped to their homes for free.
Those who order the kits should begin seeing them later this month.

The N95 masks are more widely available now than in the beginning of the pandemic, which again health officials say offer more protection than any other mask.