Which pharmacies will have free N-95 masks and when?

·4 min read

Pharmacies across the country are in the process of receiving free N95 masks from the federal government and distributing them to the public.

President Joe Biden announced the distribution of 400 million free N95 masks last week. The supply comes from dipping into the Strategic National Stockpile, a federal reserve of resources used when states become overwhelmed with crisis. Mask recipients are limited to three masks each to make supplies last.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, participating pharmacies will vary by state and territory. A full list can be found at their site, but popular retailers include Hy-Vee, Meijer, Kroger, Walgreens, Walmart and CVS Health.

The participating pharmacies include Kroger, Walgreens, Walmart, Hy-Vee and CVS Health. (Courtesy HyVee)
The participating pharmacies include Kroger, Walgreens, Walmart, Hy-Vee and CVS Health. (Courtesy HyVee)

Here's a list of the pharmacies participating in mask distributions and when they'll have free N95 masks available.

When will free N95s be available at Albertsons?

The grocery store chain shared a statement with TODAY stating they are "currently working to finalize details regarding inventory and distribution" of the free non-surgical N95 masks.

When will free N95s be available at Kroger?

According to a Kroger spokesperson, masks should be available at stores with pharmacies later this week. More than 2,200 Kroger stores (located in the South, West and Pacific Northwest) will serve as distribution points.

Dr. Marc Watkins, Kroger's Chief Medical Officer, said in a statement to NBC News Monday that the organization is glad to help distribute free masks.

“As part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, Kroger Health is incredibly proud to be part of the largest deployment of personal protective equipment in U.S. history and continue our partnership with the Biden Administration and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to reduce the spread of the aggressive Omicron variant in the communities we serve. Wearing a mask and getting vaccinated continue to be the top defense tools in our nation’s fight against COVID-19. I encourage everyone to take advantage of the free non-surgical N95 masks and make an appointment today to get vaccinated or boosted.”

When will free N95s be available at Walgreens?

Free masks at Walgreens locations are not yet available, but will be in some locations starting on Friday, Jan. 28, a spokesperson told NBC Chicago. The roll out of masks will continue in the following days and weeks, reaching more stores in more states. Participating stores "will have signage indicating mask availability,” the spokesperson said.

N95 masks are more protective than other types of masks. The Biden administration began making them available for free last week. (Courtesy HyVee)
N95 masks are more protective than other types of masks. The Biden administration began making them available for free last week. (Courtesy HyVee)

When will free N95s be available at Hy-Vee?

Hy-Vee is a chain in the Midwestern and Southern region of the country. Christina Gayman, a spokesperson for the company, said it received and began distributing free masks last Friday, Jan. 21. Most stores with pharmacies are currently distributing their mask allocation and all of them will have masks by Wednesday, Jan. 26.

When will free N95s be available at Walmart?

Walmart said free masks will become available late next week, at the earliest, at select Walmart and Sam's Club stores, according to a statement obtained by NBC Chicago.

“From the beginning of the pandemic, we have worked to meet the needs of our communities and help keep them safe and healthy by setting-up COVID testing sites, administering tens of millions of vaccines and boosters, and dispensing authorized COVID-19 oral antiviral medications,” the statement read, in part. “We are proud to continue to serve our customers, members and associates now through N95 mask distribution as part of the US Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.”

When will free N95s be available at CVS Health?

CVS Health told TODAY they will begin offering free N95 masks at CVS Pharmacy stores and pharmacies inside Target and Schnucks as early as Thursday, Jan. 27.

"Masks are limited to three per person, while supplies last, and signs will be posted to indicate N95 mask availability," the statement said, in part.

When will free N95s be available at Rite Aid?

In a statement shared with TODAY the company said they anticipate free N95 masks will be available in some stores later this week, with all stores receiving them by early February.

"Customers will be able to pick up the masks, with a limit of three masks per person, at an in-store display or the pharmacy counter while supplies last," the statement said, in part.

Related:This story was updated on Jan. 26, 2022.

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