MONTPELIER, Vt. (WFFF) — In partnership with the National Institute of Health and Amazon, Vermont launched a program on Wednesday that will deliver test kits to homes. The state’s Say Yes! COVID Home Test program kicked off at 10 a.m., and demand for deliveries quickly overwhelmed the Vermont Department of Health website.

People clamoring to order up to two of the initial supply of 350,000 at-home COVID test kits were unable to load the department’s testing page to sign up. Going directly to the Say Yes! site yielded better results. The site said confirmed orders would arrive in one to two weeks—but the state announced that all the tests were spoken for by 3 p.m.

“As expected, demand was very high and shows how much Vermonters understand the importance of testing as a way to protect their health and the people around them,” Vermont Gov. Phil Scott said in a statement. “While we knew the limited supply would go quickly, this effort will help inform future decisions, as we continue to work to make testing as accessible as possible for all Vermonters.” 

Just after the halfway point, while the site was down for several users, a spokesperson for the Scott Administration addressed the limited supply, saying in part:

It’s important to note that this pilot program offers testing in addition to the hundreds of thousands of tests that will be distributed this week to child care programs, schools, long term care facilities and other community partners. As of yesterday, there were still thousands of PCR testing appoints available through the VDH website, and we encourage people to take advantage of those opportunities, as well.

Jason Maulucci
Press Secretary
Office of Governor Phil Scott

The program was developed by the National Institutes of Health and is expected to deliver up to 500,000 recently purchased rapid COVID-19 tests to households across the state in two phases, beginning with 350,000 tests. Details of when the 150,000 additional tests may be made available are still to be determined.

“Rapid tests continue to be an important tool, especially given what we’ve learned about omicron,” Scott said. “While PCR tests are still beneficial, they take too long in many instances due to the speed in which omicron transmits.”

Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine says he is looking into how long these tests can stay outside or in a mailbox because of temperature requirements, but says Vermonters shouldn’t be too concerned.