You literally cannot make this up.
As Americans began receiving free at-home COVID-19 tests kits distributed by the Biden administration this week, many Americans began noticing something odd about the tests: They are made in China.
Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer noted on “America’s Newsroom” Tuesday that after ordering four at-home COVID tests — which he received in quick fashion — he observed on the backs of the boxes that the tests were manufactured in China.
“I got mine yesterday. All four of them came. Congrats U.S. government — U.S. Postal Service did a great job,” Hemmer explained. “Got my four tests. And on the back of the fine print, Dana, it is made in China.”
“Of course,” co-host Dana Perino quipped.
The tests in question are manufactured by iHealth Labs Inc. Even though the company is headquartered in California, the backs of the testing packages clearly state that the tests were made in China.
The Defense Department announced on Jan. 14 that the U.S government had awarded iHealth Labs Inc. a contract worth $1.275 billion to produce millions of at-home rapid COVID-19 antigen tests. The contract will supply testing kits that serve up to 250 million people, Reuters noted.
New York and Massachusetts have also signed contracts with iHealth Labs Inc. for rapid at-home antigen tests.
What was the reaction?
As Americans began receiving their Chinese-made tests, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) condemned the Biden administration for procuring COVID tests from China of all places.
Scott said the Biden administration should have prioritized American-made tests instead of sending more taxpayer dollars to China.
“Senator Scott thinks it is unacceptable that the Biden administration would spend American taxpayer dollars on COVID tests from Communist China, which just goes directly to supporting General Secretary Xi and his genocidal regime, instead of supporting American manufacturers and jobs,” Scott said in a statement.
“The federal government has a responsibility to support American manufacturers, and we cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that it was the Chinese Communist Party that lied about this deadly virus, tried to hide it, and has continuously covered up the origins of COVID-19,” he added.
One week before the Defense Department announced the contract with iHealth Labs Inc., Scott wrote Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra urging him to not buy Chinese-made tests.
What was the Biden admin’s response?
An administration official told Fox News that not all of the contracts were awarded to iHealth Labs Inc (in fact, the Defense Department announced on Jan. 14 two contacts for two domestic companies to produce the COVID tests), and explained the administration was forced to look to international manufactures because the U.S. does not have adequate manufacturing capacity stateside.
The statement said:
We are procuring as many US-made at-home tests as are available to purchase, while also purchasing additional, FDA authorized at-home tests that are made in other parts of the world. Together this ensures that we are making available as many at-home tests for the American people as possible and importantly, we’re doing so in a way that ensures we are not interfering with other channels where people can get at home tests, including through their states, pharmacies and online retailers.
Importantly, every at-home test that is available to the American people has underwent a rigorous FDA approval process guaranteeing that it is of the highest quality.
Last week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki was confronted over a damning Vanity Fair report that alleged the Biden administration rejected a plan in October that sought to mass-produce and mass-distribute at-home COVID tests before the holiday season. When confronted, Psaki said the administration rejected the plan because of lagging manufacturing capabilities.
If that was the case more than three months ago and is the case today (as proven by the Biden administration procuring Chinese-made tests), one thus wonders why the Biden administration has not worked to ensure the U.S. acquires the necessary manufacturing capabilities to meet domestic needs.