As announced in December 2021, the Biden administration will be distributing free at-home COVID-19 tests to households in the United States. We have communicated with the administration to ensure that the tests they are sending out are accessible for blind people to administer without assistance. It is critical that these tests be accessible nonvisually as more and more in-person testing locations are declining to test walk-ins and healthcare facilities are in crisis mode.
The National Federation of the Blind is committed to providing solutions and holding the government accountable.
On January 3, 2022, President Riccobono wrote a letter to President Biden regarding our concerns about the accessibility of at-home COVID-19 tests. He reminded the president that the blind have already faced many barriers during the pandemic, including inaccessible websites and drive-through-only testing sites, and these experiences reinforce the urgency of the administration to address accessibility now. President Riccobono stated that the National Federation of the Blind stands ready to collaborate with the Biden administration to ensure equal access for all Americans. We are eager to serve as the vehicle for blind people to get accurate and up-to-date information from the administration regarding COVID-19 and other home healthcare needs.
Communications and Updates with the Administration
- Update on White House Engagement Regarding At-Home COVID-19 Tests (March 7, 2022)
- Letter to the Administration for Community Living Regarding Accessible At-home COVID-19 Test Kits for Blind Americans (January 27, 2022)
- Letter to NIH Director Regarding Accessible At-home COVID-19 Test Kits for Blind Americans (January 24, 2022)
- Letter to Contractors Regarding the Procurement of Accessible At-home COVID-19 Test Kits for Blind Americans (January 14, 2022)
- Letter to FDA Commissioner Regarding the Accessibility of At-Home COVID-19 Tests and Test Requests (January 11, 2022)
- Letter to President Biden Regarding the Accessibility of At-Home COVID-19 Tests and Test Requests (January 3, 2022)
Aira is also committed to providing continued support to our community by making otherwise inaccessible information and processes related to the latest COVID-19 health concerns and vaccination requirements accessible. With the generous support and collaboration of the National Federation of the Blind, the transformative membership and advocacy organization of blind Americans, any blind person can use the Aira service free for the completion of COVID-19 at-home tests. Please read Tips for Testing in advance. As we learn more, we will continue to update this document.
It’s necessary to be an Aira Explorer to take advantage of this promotion, becoming an Explorer is quick and easy, and it’s free. As part of the NFB promotion, you’ll be asked a few questions that will help provide important data in the at-home test accessibility efforts.
COVID-19 Test Kit Information Now on NFB-NEWSLINE
You can now access government at home COVID-19 testing information on NFB-NEWSLINE by following these steps on the touch-tone phone access method.
- Press five for Newspapers from Other States
- Choose option one, Breaking News
- Press option one for At Home COVID-19 Test Kit Information and follow the prompts.
- If you are using the NFB-NEWSLINE Mobile IOS app, select the “Information Sources” page, then Breaking News Online, then you will be presented with the at home COVID-19 testing information.
Plans are to periodically update the At Home COVID-19 Test Kit Information on NFB-NEWSLINE, so check periodically for updates.
Additionally, you may want to check out our other COVID-19 resources in the Breaking News Online category including, breaking news search results for coronavirus COVID-19 and COVID pandemic statistical data.
The breaking news search results is being obtained by the system searching the forty-four publications in the Breaking News category for "coronavirus" and displaying the results. The COVID pandemic statistical data is obtained from Johns Hopkins.
Additional Resource: Disability Information and Assistance Line
The Disability Information and Assistance Line (DIAL) is an additional resource, connecting people with disabilities to COVID-19 vaccination and testing in their communities. DIAL can also provide testing instructions and other assistance with the at-home tests that can be ordered from the government. The National Federation of the Blind encourages contacting DIAL to inquire about accessible testing options. DIAL support can be reached by calling 888-677-1199 or by emailing [email protected].
At-home Test Information
The National Federation of the Blind has reviewed the majority of the tests being distributed by the federal government, as well as other commercially available tests, and found that as of April 18, 2022, only two tests can be administered nonvisually with a smartphone. These are:
- Cue Health’s COVID-19 Test
- Ellume COVID-19 Home Test
The following at-home COVID-19 test kits in their current form require vision to administer and/or interpret test results and cannot be used privately and independently by blind Americans:
- DiaTrust COVID-19 Test
- InteliSwab COVID-19 Rapid Test
- BinaxNOW COVID-19 Antigen Self Test
- Intrivo Diagnostics, Inc.’s On/Go Rapid COVID Test
- BD Veritor At-Home COVID-19 Test
- CareStart COVID-19 Antigen Home Test
- Flowflex COVID-19 Antigen Home Test
- iHealth COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test
- QuickVue At-Home OTC COVID-19 Test
How You Can Help
Please share your feedback and experience either privately in the below survey and/or on social media. Your help provides data to continue these advocacy efforts.
At-home COVID-19 Test Kits Survey
The NFB continues to gather information regarding the accessibility of all at-home COVID-19 test kits and websites used to order these tests. Please share your experiences via NFB’s Access to COVID-19 Vaccine and Testing Survey. The survey is available at https://nfb.org/programs-services/legal-program/access-covid-19-vaccine-and-testing-survey.
Share Experience on Social Media
Twitter is a social media platform that provides a public opportunity to demand that the Biden administration put accessible systems in place for test distribution and work with us and test manufacturers to make the tests accessible. Here are some ways to help:
Tweet to President Biden, @POTUS, and let him know that accessible COVID-19 at-home tests are vital for blind people.
- Share your concerns about the impact this will have and include the hashtag #COVID19 in your posts. (There is no hyphen in the hashtag.)
- Follow and share posts from the National Federation of the Blind, @NFB_voice.
- A Twitter account is needed to engage with this digital public push for answers. To learn more about Twitter, review our General Twitter Tips.
Template Letter to Your State Secretary of Health
The NFB has created a sample letter you can use or modify for your advocacy, available at https://nfb.org/resources/covid-19-resources/covid-19-home-test-information/template-letter-your-state-secretary. Please coordinate with your affiliate and chapter president if you intend to send a letter to your local government officials.
We are continuing to gather more information regarding COVID-19 at-home tests. If you know of information or additional resources regarding at-home tests, please email [email protected].