(HealthDay News) — The distribution of free N95 masks for Americans has begun, the Biden administration said Monday.

“Last week, masks began shipping and arriving at pharmacies and grocers around [the] country. We expect that throughout the week the number of stores and N95s arriving [will] scale up significantly,” an administration official told CNN.

Masks already are set up for distribution at some Hy-Vee and Meijer grocery stores in the Midwest, with more coming at Southeastern Grocers stores later this week, CNN reported.

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The administration announced last week that the program to distribute 400 million free masks to pharmacies and community health centers is expected to be in full swing by early February. The masks are accompanied by flyers in both English and Spanish from the US Department of Health and Human Services. “Mask up and maximize your protection,” to “help slow the spread of COVID by protecting yourself and those around you,” the flyer states.

Every person can have up to three free masks that include a QR code with instructions on proper use of the masks, as well as a link on mask usage from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The free masks — from the Strategic National Stockpile — will also start arriving at about 100 to 200 community health centers in the initial phase, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration. By mid-February, the agency anticipates that the masks will be available to all health centers, Amy Simmons Farber, a spokesperson for the National Association of Community Health Centers, told CNN.

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