Some Individuals blocked from ordering Biden’s free Covid assessments in early web site launch

Take-home COVID-19 self-test kits provided by the District of Columbia government, which is offering city residents four free take-home tests per day, are shown in this illustration dated January 11, 2022.

Evelyn Hockstein Reuters

Americans on Tuesday began placing orders for free Covid tests promised by the Biden administration after the federal government launched the site a day earlier than expected – some complained on social media about being blocked from doing so were to order the tests.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the website covidtests.gov is in the testing phase and will officially launch Wednesday morning. Orders placed during the site’s testing period on Tuesday are valid and will be shipped, White House spokesman Kevin Munoz told CNBC.

Each household, based on home address, is limited to four tests. The White House said last week it has limited the number of tests people can order to ensure broad access to the program.

Tests can be ordered here: https://www.covidtests.gov/

After a user clicks “Order free home tests” The website directs the user to a postal service order form where they enter a name and address before checking out.

The Postal Service ships the tests 7 to 12 days after the order is placed, according to the Biden administration. The website said on Tuesday that the orders would be shipped by the end of the month.

While some users said the site was simple and easy to use, others — particularly people who live in apartment buildings — reported problems in social media posts on Tuesday.

“Any website launch, in our view, comes with risks,” Psaki told reporters during a White House briefing on Tuesday. “We cannot guarantee that there will be zero or two errors. But the best technical teams in the administration and the postal service are working hard to make this a success,” she said.

The White House launched the site after a public outcry over the widespread lack of testing during the busy holiday travel season, when the highly contagious Covid Omicron variant swept the country. Pharmacies, large and small, have struggled to stock home tests as demand suddenly surged.

President Joe Biden said the government is getting a total of 1 billion home tests to distribute free to Americans. The Department of Defense awards the tests in coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services.