The Rockefeller Foundation Partners with iHealth Labs, CareEvolution, Amazon, and Six State Health Departments to Deliver Free Covid-19 Tests to Vulnerable Communities

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NEW YORK, Jan. 28, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The Rockefeller Foundation launches Project Access Covid Tests (Project ACT) to provide free at-home Covid-19 tests directly to vulnerable Americans. Going live at 11:00am EST on Friday, January 28 at www.AccessCovidTests.org, Project ACT will initially deliver 1.1 million tests to at-risk residents in Arkansas, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, New Mexico, and Ohio before expanding access across the country.

"We need all-hands-on-deck to get more tests to more people, as soon as possible," said Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. "At a time when too many people cannot access Covid-19 testing, we are proud to bring together partners from across society to empower Americans with the support and information they need to keep themselves safe and healthy."

Through this innovative private-public partnership, States can access tests at a lower price point and allocate supplies efficiently. In the spirit of partnership and urgency, The Rockefeller Foundation provided the initial $7.45 million investment to launch Project ACT with six pioneering State Health Departments. This includes the costs for 1 million iHealth Covid-19 Antigen Rapid Tests from test manufacturer iHealth Labs, Inc., and the logistics and distribution associated with the program managed by health technology company CareEvolution and logistics provider and distribution leader Amazon.com. iHealth Labs also covered the cost of the initial freight shipping and provided a 10% donation for an additional 100,000 tests. The all-in price for each test negotiated through this program is $6.50, including delivery and website costs, as compared to the average retail price of $12 in the U.S. for a single test.

As Project ACT gets underway today, state Health Departments are directing an initial number of eligible residents in vulnerable communities to order Covid-19 tests through www.AccessCovidTests.org. Each household will receive 1 kit with five tests within one to two weeks after ordering. No payment information is required — both the tests and shipping are free to eligible residents. The six states determined initial eligibility based on zip codes with the highest risk of Covid-19, using the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Social Vulnerability Index combined with state data on Covid-19 burden.

While the program is currently limited to one order, per residential address during this first phase, The Rockefeller Foundation is actively working to bring in new partners to scale the program to additional states over the coming weeks. In addition to building in lessons learned from the initial six pilot states, the Foundation will engage its public charity, RF Catalytic Capital, Inc. (RFCC), to serve as the cost aggregator for the states, providing an "all-in" price that drives down the costs of tests, logistics, and distribution.

As the FDA grants new EUAs and capacity opens up for existing companies, additional manufacturers will be reviewed and added to the program to ensure a sustainable model is available to states planning for the long term. Critical considerations, including eligibility and number of tests per household, will be determined on a state-by-state basis and can be updated in real-time to ensure the program continues to target and reach communities most in need.

Project ACT Partners Voice their Support:

  • "Access to testing has been a crucial part of Covid-19 response, especially during the Omicron surge. I am glad Arkansas is able to participate in this partnership to provide even more free rapid tests to our citizens. It takes all of us working together to respond to this public health threat, and I encourage Arkansans to take advantage of this opportunity." Dr. José R. Romero, Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Health

  • "Testing is still a critical component for slowing transmission of Covid-19 and helping prevent further infections. With readily available at-home testing, individuals can find out very quickly if they are positive and take action to isolate for five days while alerting those with whom they had close contact that they should also test. Readily available tests can help us chart a course for the new normal and help us learn how to coexist with Covid-19." Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director of Illinois Department of Public Health

  • "This program will bring free, at-home tests to communities in need across Maine, helping to limit the spread of Covid-19 and keep Maine people healthy in the face of the Omicron surge. We're grateful to The Rockefeller Foundation for this partnership as we continue to work to make Covid-19 testing more easily and readily available." Jeanne Lambrew, Commissioner of Maine Health and Human Services

  • "We are grateful for this partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation that will put more tests into the hands of Michiganders as we continue battling another surge of Covid-19. Testing is an important tool to limit the spread of the virus and at-home tests allow individuals to very quickly determine if they are positive for the virus and take actions to isolate and seek treatment if needed. I urge Michiganders to order their tests today in addition to getting the safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine and their booster dose when eligible, as the vaccine is our best defense against the virus." Elizabeth Hertel, Director of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

  • "By making tests available to people who aren't going to be able to purchase them on their own, or have difficulty getting to a testing site, we hope to enhance our capacity to reach individuals and communities most affected by Covid-19." Laura Parajon, MD, Deputy Cabinet Secretary of New Mexico Department of Health

  • "Ohio was one of the first states to ensure free rapid testing kits were widely available and has purchased 5.6 million kits, distributing them to schools, colleges and universities, libraries, and local health departments. As the rapid test shortage is felt across the nation, this partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation will increase access to tests for those at high risk and help reduce spread in our communities." Bruce Vanderhoff, MD, MBA, Director of Ohio Department of Health

  • "iHealth is honored to be part of Project ACT to provide Covid-19 tests to vulnerable communities to keep them healthy and safe. We appreciate The Rockefeller Foundation's leadership to bring all the partners together and make the logistics very efficient. We will continue to fully support this initiative and provide more donations for all the communities involved." Jack Feng, Chief Operating Officer of iHealth Labs

  • "CareEvolution is proud to partner on Project ACT, ensuring that tests get to the people who need them the most, our vulnerable and hard-to-reach population. Ensuring health equity is core to everything we do at CareEvolution and we are thrilled to bring our talents and technology to support The Rockefeller Foundation and Project ACT. We look forward to seeing the impact of this initiative and realizing the full potential that access to at-home testing offers in helping consumer make more informed choices during this pandemic." Vik Kheterpal, MD, Principal of CareEvolution

  • "Ensuring individuals and families in some of the country's most vulnerable communities have access to safe and reliable Covid-19 tests is an important step towards ending the pandemic. Amazon is honored to support this partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation and leverage our warehousing, logistics, package tracking, and last-mile delivery network to scale-up fast and reliable deliveries of at-home test kits." Gopal Pillai, Vice President of Amazon Distribution and Fulfillment Solutions

  • "Project ACT's singular focus is to provide tests to more people who need them the most. Too many still face obstacles to getting tests at all—an access issue that will only grow if we don't work together to address it head-on. It is important that our most vulnerable and hard-to-reach communities know that they will have regular access to testing. This is not a one-off or twice-off program. After this initial philanthropic phase, we will work with states to ensure funding for the long term, sending a strong market signal to manufacturers that the demand for testing is not going away." Andrew Sweet, Managing Director of Covid-19 Response and Recovery at The Rockefeller Foundation

From the outset of this pandemic, The Rockefeller Foundation has worked to resolve the problems cities states, and territories have faced in stopping the chain of transmission of Covid-19. This includes launching the State and Territory Alliance on Testing, where Covid-19 response teams from over 40 states meet regularly to exchange best practices and learn about advances in Covid-19 testing and vaccination management, working to safely reopen K-12 schools, and piloting an equity-first approach to improve Covid-19 vaccination rates among communities of color. Learn more about our Covid-19 response and recovery efforts here: www.rockefellerfoundation.org/covid-19-response.

Launched by The Rockefeller Foundation in September 2020, RF Catalytic Capital, Inc. enables foundations, impact investors, businesses, governments, and other like-minded funders to combine their resources to build funding solutions for social impact and bring about transformational change. To learn more about how the RFCC marshals capital to improve the lives of vulnerable families around the world, visit www.rockefellerfoundation.org/rf-catalytic-capital-inc.

About The Rockefeller Foundation
The Rockefeller Foundation is a pioneering philanthropy built on collaborative partnerships at the frontiers of science, technology, and innovation to enable individuals, families, and communities to flourish. We work to promote the well-being of humanity and make opportunity universal. Our focus is on scaling renewable energy for all, stimulating economic mobility, and ensuring equitable access to healthy and nutritious food. For more information, sign up for our newsletter at rockefellerfoundation.org and follow us on Twitter @RockefellerFdn.

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SOURCE The Rockefeller Foundation