The Biden administration will give out 400 million N95 masks to U.S. residents starting next week.
The White House announced the masks will come from the government’s Strategic National Stockpile, which has more than 750 million of the highly protective masks.
The masks will be available for pickup at pharmacies and community health centers across the country.
This will be the largest distribution of free masks by the federal government to the public since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
President Joe Biden embraced the initiative after facing mounting criticism this month over the inaccessibility of N95 masks as the highly transmissible omicron variant swept across the country.
The White House said the masks will be made available at pharmacies and community health centers that have partnered with the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign.
The White House said that “to ensure broad access for all Americans, there will be three masks available per person.”
N95 or KN95 masks are more widely available now than at any other time during the pandemic, though they are often more costly than less-protective surgical masks or cloth masks.