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San Antonio pharmacies expect to start free N95 mask distribution this week and next

N95 respirator
Joe Palca
Packaged KN95 mask

Outlets of several nationwide retailers and pharmacies are anticipating the arrival of free N95 masks locally this week or next to distribute to customers as part of The Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.

San Antonio-based H-E-B reports its Texas pharmacy locations are among those authorized to distribute N95 masks to individuals at no cost. Individuals can visit their H-E-B Pharmacy and receive up to three N95 masks for free, while supplies last, according to information on the grocer's website.

Several of the chain stores reported they will advise customers of mask availability on their websites and or on signs posted in stores. You may want to check with your pharmacist about availability before you make a trip.

Walmart released the following statement to Texas Public Radio:

"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. We are proud to continue to serve our customers, members and associates now through N95 mask distribution as part of the U.S. Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. 

We anticipate masks will be available by the second week of February at the front of more than 5,100 Walmart stores and Sam's Clubs across the country for individuals to pick-up three masks per person as determined by the federal government to help keep themselves and others healthy, while supplies last."

Walgreens said it is also a partner to make N95 masks in varying sizes available free of charge at participating Walgreens locations while supplies last. Masks have begun to rollout to the first wave of stores and will continue to rollout into additional stores in the coming days and weeks. Walgreen's anticipate all participating stores will receive supply by mid-February, according to a statement on its website.

In addition to in-store signage indicating store participation in the federal program, Walgreens will frequently update its N95 mask program store locator list as shipments arrive in-store.

CVS has posted a map of stores for customers to check for N95 mask availability.

Costco is also listed as partner retailer.

Here's a list of all participating free mask distributors from the Centers for Disease Control locally and across the nation.

For instructions on how to properly put on and take off masks, visit the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services website.

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