CHESAPEAKE, Va. — The federal government plans to stop buying COVID tests, treatments, and vaccines as early as this coming summer or fall.
According to White House officials, the plan is to shift away from the "emergency" phase of the pandemic and move toward a private market stance.
Most Americans will not be impacted greatly by this shift, as health insurance should cover the expenses under the Affordable Care Act. However, those who are uninsured could be facing out-of-pocket charges.
"We may see some changes in the future, but we will be sure to notify the public and continue our free vaccination clinics for as long physically possible," said Jerry Tucker with Chesapeake's Department of Health.
Tucker said the rate of vaccinations remains fairly steady after a surge following the holidays. However, this is subject to change as surges can ebb and flow.
Tucker said there is no shortage of free, readily available vaccines and that they are willing to work with those looking to be vaccinated.
"I think that we have been able to accommodate a lot of needs and we are going to strive to do that as we move forward," said Tucker.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, COVID vaccines cost anywhere from $15 to $30. The price could fluctuate in the future as the government pays a discounted price, and health insurance companies will not.
Medicaid and Medicare will cover the expenses of COVID treatments, tests, and vaccines. There is also a federal program that will help uninsured adults pay for vaccines.