When and where to get free N95 masks

WHO advises fully vaccinated peopleto continue wearing face masks.The World Health Organization (WHO) hasurged people to continue practicing COVID-19 safetymeasures regardless of their vaccination status. .This includes wearing face masks, practicing social distancing,maintaining proper hygiene and being mindful of ventilation. .This differs from guidance offered in a number ofcountries, including the United States, that encouragesvaccinated individuals to shed their face masks. .Dr. Mariangela Simao, an assistantdirector-general for the WHO, stressedthat vaccinated people “still needto protect themselves.”.People cannot feel safe just because theyhad the two doses … Vaccine alone won’t stopcommunity transmission … People need tocontinue to use masks consistently, be inventilated spaces, hand hygiene … thephysical distance, avoid crowding, Dr. Mariangela Simao, via CNBC.The WHO’s call for fully vaccinated people to“play it safe” comes as the highly contagious delta variantcontinues to spread rapidly across the globe. .According to ‘The Wall Street Journal,’ halfof adults infected with the delta variant in Israelhad received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine. .WHO officials say the variant is in at least 92 countriesnow and will “pick off” the most vulnerable people. .It’s more efficient in the way it transmitsbetween humans and it will eventually find thosevulnerable individuals who will become severely ill,have to be hospitalized and potentially die, Dr. Mike Ryan, Executive Director ofWHO’s Health Emergencies Program

By Nancy Clanton

These Georgia pharmacies will soon give you up to three face coverings

Starting later this week, you’ll be able to walk into participating pharmacies and walk out with three free N95 masks. Last week, President Joe Biden announced the distribution of 400 million free N95 masks last week.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, retail pharmacies participating in the program will vary by state and territory. Those who are interested in getting masks should check the pharmacy’s website to check availability.

Why should you use a nonsurgical N95 mask? According to the CDC, they are better than cloth masks for filtering coronavirus particulates.

Here is where, and in some cases when, you can get your free masks in Georgia:

  • Costco Wholesale Corp.
  • CVS Pharmacy Inc. (including Long’s). CVS Health told Today it hasn’t received the masks, but it plans to in the coming weeks. “Through our continued participation in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, we’ll be offering access to free N95 masks at CVS Pharmacy locations in the coming weeks as we receive supply from the Federal Government. Our work to distribute high-quality masks as part of this program is an extension of our commitment to providing equitable access to the tools necessary to combat COVID-19, including testing, vaccines and authorized therapies.”
  • Good Neighbor Pharmacy and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corp.’s pharmacy services administrative organization (PSAO), Elevate Provider Network
  • Health Mart Pharmacies
  • LeaderNET and the Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy, Cardinal Health’s PSAOs
  • Managed Health Care Associates (retail and long-term care pharmacies)
  • Publix Super Markets Inc.
  • Retail Business Services, LLC (including Food Lion, Giant Food, the Giant Co., Hannaford Bros Co., Stop & Shop)
  • Southeastern Grocers (Winn-Dixie, Harveys, Fresco Y Mas)
  • The Kroger Co. (including Kroger, Harris Teeter, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, Ralphs, King Soopers, Smiths, City Market, Dillons, Mariano’s, Pick-n-Save, Copps, Metro Market, QFC). A Kroger spokesperson told Today that masks should be available at stores with pharmacies later this week. More than 2,200 Kroger stores will serve as distribution points. Dr. Marc Watkins, Kroger’s chief medical officer, said in a statement to NBC News 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.”
  • Topco Associates LLC (including Acme Fresh Markets, Associated Food Stores, Bashas, Big-Y Pharmacy and Wellness Center, Brookshire’s Pharmacy, Super One Pharmacy, FRESH by Brookshire’s Pharmacy, Coborn’s Pharmacy, Cash Wise Pharmacy, MarketPlace Pharmacy, Giant Eagle, Hartig Drug Company, King Kullen, Food City Pharmacy, Ingles Pharmacy, Raley’s, Bel Air, Nob Hill Pharmacies, Save Mart Pharmacies, Lucky Pharmacies, SpartanNash, Price Chopper, Market 32, Tops Friendly Markets, ShopRite, Wegmans, Weis Markets, Inc.)
  • Walgreens (including Duane Reade). A spokesperson told NBC Chicago masks will be available in the following days and weeks. Participating stores “will have signage indicating mask availability,” the spokesperson said.
  • Walmart, Inc. (including Sam’s Club). Walmart said free masks will be available late next week, at the earliest, at select 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.”

Although N95 masks are more protective than cloth ones, it’s important to wear them correctly.

According to the CDC, your N95 must form a seal to your face to work properly. Your breath should pass through the mask and not around its edges. Jewelry, glasses and facial hair can cause gaps between your face and the edge of the mask. Gaps can also occur if your N95 is too big, too small, or it was not put on correctly.

Do not wash your N95 or put it in the oven or microwave to try to sterilize it, the CDC states. Instead, replace the N95 when the straps are stretched out and it no longer fits snugly or when it becomes wet, dirty or damaged.

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Read the original story on AJC.com.