Walmart is among three large retailers to offer the over-the-counter COVID-19 rapid testing kits as part of President Joe Biden’s plan to expand testing access. The Biden administration said Walmart, Amazon and Kroger will sell tests at prices discounted up to 35% by year end.
The White House’s plan calls for spending of nearly $2 billion to procure 280 million rapid test for long-term care facilities, community testing sites, homeless shelters, prison and other vulnerable population. Another 25 million free at-home rapid tests will be sent to community health center and food banks.
The move comes as the Delta variant continues to increase the number of U.S. cases and increase demand for rapid tests. The Food and Drug Administration has authorized six companies to manufacture the tests and industry analysts say test inventory is getting short as demand has picked up in the past couple of months.
Test manufacturer Abbott Labs continues to scramble to produce more tests after it closed an Indiana plant in June when demand declined for the rapid tests. Rapid antigen tests made by Abbott and competitors Quidel and Ellume have been sold by major retailers for several month ranging in price from $12 to $40 per test.
Analysts expect the Biden plan will likely require a wide variety of tests, not just rapid tests that consumers can purchase at retail locations.