PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – A federal website will launch on Wednesday for Americans to request up to four at-home rapid tests per household from the first batch of 500 million rapid tests.

That’s on top of 50 million free at-home tests sent to community health centers and testing centers around the country.

“I’m glad the free testing is going to be available,” integrative medicine specialist Dr. Rubina Azam said. “In other countries like England, it’s been available, free testing has been available to its residents and to its citizens for the past several weeks and it has helped them identify the source of infection and therefore stop the spread. And once again, the omicron surge in the past two years. It has been crazy so testing is definitely going to be a huge help.”

Pharmacies and doctors’ offices across the country have struggled to keep up with the demand for covid tests.

“We are doing so many tests every day and last week we were out of the tests,” Azam said. “It took us a few days to get those tested back but having those home tests available for patients is going to take a huge burden off of the medical offices of the testing centers and the pharmacies.”

A burden that emergency medicine physician Dr. Frank Merritt said was getting too strong.

“We’ve now made the pharmacists that fill the prescriptions, we’ve made them be giving the vaccination shots we’ve made them go get the covid tests and you can only do that so much before it starts impacting the other things that they have to do,” Merritt said.

Doctors stressed to order your COVID tests as soon as possible even if you aren’t sick so that you have it on hand in case you do suspect you’ve been infected.

“Get your test. Have them ready, have them available in your house so if you need to get yourself tested, you can get yourself tested and you can stop the spread,” Azam said. “You can save somebody who is high risk and plus if you need to be tested you are not rushing to the pharmacies, you are not rushing to the doctor’s offices. You have it in your house already available.”

The first tests will ship out in late January or early February.

You will be able to order yours at CovidTests.gov