The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to ensuring our nation's underserved communities and those disproportionately affected by COVID-19 have equitable access to public health tools needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Through the HRSA Health Center COVID-19 N95 Mask Program, eligible health centers that elect to participate will be able to receive N95 respirator masks from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Strategic National Stockpile for free distribution to patients and people in their communities. These masks are approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
Health Center Participation
The program is beginning incrementally, providing NIOSH-approved N95 masks to approximately 100 to 200 health centers in the initial phase. These health centers should receive and start distributing masks before the end of January 2022.
HHS and HRSA will expand the program to additional health centers in the coming weeks. Participating health centers will distribute N95 masks to patients and members of their community, and will report to HRSA on the number of N95 masks they receive and distribute, consistent with guidance from HHS.
- Recommendations and guidance on mask usage are available from the CDC.
- Health Center Program Support Contact Form – Please select “COVID-19 Mask Distribution” from the menu.
What is the HRSA Health Center COVID-19 N95 Mask Program?
Through the HRSA Health Center COVID-19 N95 Mask Program, HRSA will allocate a direct supply of N95 masks to HRSA-supported health centers. This program is beginning incrementally at select health centers that serve large patient populations as reported in the 2020 Uniform Data System. The initial phase of the program is providing masks to approximately 100-200 health centers nationwide, before scaling up to include all interested health centers and look-alikes in the coming weeks.
Why are health centers part of this mask distribution effort?
Health centers provide essential primary care services to nearly 29 million people each year and are able to reach geographically isolated and vulnerable communities. Two-thirds of the population served by health centers are living in poverty, 62% are racial and/or ethnic minorities, and nearly 1.3 million are unhoused. In order to ensure that all Americans have access to high-quality N95 masks, select HRSA-supported health centers are eligible to receive a shipment of N95 masks to distribute to patients, health center staff, and other individuals within the community.
Is the HRSA Health Center COVID-19 N95 Mask Program different from the HHS Mask Distribution Program announced in February 2021?
This new program is separate from the HHS Mask Distribution Program launched in February 2021, which ended as of September 2021 after distributing more than 12.5 million adult and child-sized masks to health centers.
Are health centers required to receive N95 masks through this program?
No, this is a voluntary program. Only health centers that opt-in with HRSA and submit orders will receive the N95 masks.
What type of masks are available for participating health centers to order?
Will masks for children be available for ordering?
During the initial phase of the HRSA Health Center COVID-19 N95 Mask Program, only adult N95 masks are available for ordering. HRSA will inform participating health centers of updates on masks for pediatric sizes as these become available.
Are there guidelines regarding who may receive the N95 masks distributed through this program?
The program is intended to ensure that high-quality masks are made available to the nation's underserved communities and those disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Masks should be distributed to health center patients, staff, and any members of the community who request them.
How many masks can an individual receive from this program?
Individuals should be limited to a maximum of three masks from the HRSA Health Center COVID-19 N95 Mask Program.
Will the masks have costs associated with them? Can patients be charged for masks?
Health centers distributing N95 masks purchased by the U.S. government and provided through the HRSA Health Center COVID-19 N95 Mask Program agree to provide the masks at no charge to individuals. Receipt of masks cannot be conditioned on the purchase of other products or services.
Do health centers need to provide recipients with guidance or training on the correct use of masks?
Health centers are not required to engage in any fit testing, medical evaluations, or training, regardless of whether individuals obtain masks for employment or other purposes. Guidance on mask usage for members of the public is available from the CDC.
What information are health centers expected to report about their distribution of masks received through this program?
Participating health centers must answer the biweekly HRSA Health Center COVID-19 Survey questions regarding distribution of masks.