On February 24, 2021, to support President Biden’s call to “mask up” for 100 days in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the White House announced a partnership between the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Defense (DoD) to deliver free masks to Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)-funded health centers and Health Center Program look-alikes for distribution to patients, staff, and community members. This initiative recognizes health centers as vital partners in community-based outreach efforts to reach vulnerable populations. DoD is also working with the Department of Agriculture to supply masks to 300 food banks as part of the effort.
Through this program, health centers and look-alikes will receive no-cost, high-quality, washable masks in child and adult sizes, packaged in pairs of two. The masks will be produced consistent with mask guidance from the CDC. All masks will be made in America, and the distribution will not impact the availability of masks for health care workers. Health centers are encouraged to distribute individually-wrapped packages of two masks, as well as a flyer with CDC guidance on how and why to wear masks, to patients, staff, and community members for each person in their household.
DoD anticipates shipping the masks beginning in March, as production ramps up. HRSA will send an email communication from the Electronic Handbooks (EHBs) to each health center and look-alike with the specific number of masks that will be shipped to the health center’s administrative address on record within the EHBs. If your health center does not want to receive a shipment of masks, you will be able to opt out using the BPHC Contact Form.
HHS has added several new questions about the HHS Mask Distribution Program to their COVID-19 FAQ webpage.