CDC Encourages Healthcare Providers to Recommend COVID-19

Self-testing Before Holiday Gatherings

Healthcare providers should consider recommending that their patients perform COVID-19 self-tests (also referred to as home tests or over-the-counter tests), and encourage their guests to do the same, before indoor holiday gatherings. Along with vaccination, masking, and physical distancing, self-tests help reduce the chance of spreading SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Self-tests can also help protect unvaccinated children, older individuals, those who are immunocompromised, or individuals at risk of severe disease. The key points below can help guide conversations with your patients about COVID-19 self-testing.

When to Consider Self-testing

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using a self-test before joining indoor gatherings with others who are not in your household, or if you live with someone at higher risk for severe COVID-19.
  • Self-testing is one of many risk-reduction strategies—including getting vaccinated, wearing a mask, practicing physical distancing, and washing your hands—that protect you and others by reducing the chances of spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • Self-tests can be used whether you have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and regardless if you are having symptoms of COVID-19.
Where to Get a Self-test
  • COVID-19 self-tests are currently available over-the-counter in many locations, including pharmacies, some community health centers, and online.
  • As self-tests become more widely available in all communities, more people will have access to self-testing.
How to Use and Interpret a Self-test
Additional Resources
The Emergency Risk Communication Branch in the Division of Emergency Operations, Center for Preparedness and Response is responsible for the management of all COCA Products. 
For information about this update or other clinical issues, or to send your feedback, please contact us at
Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity—resources for healthcare providers
COCA RSS Feed—subscribe to be notified of conference calls, updates, and CDC guidance for health providers
Crisis & Emergency Risk Communication Training—training program that draws from lessons learned during public health emergencies, and incorporates best practices from the fields of risk and crisis communication
Health Alert Network—CDC's primary method of sharing cleared information about urgent public health incidents with public information officers; federal, state, territorial, and local public health practitioners; clinicians; and public health laboratories

CDC and HHS logos are the exclusive property of the Department of Health and Human Services and may not be used for any purpose without prior express written permission. Use of trade names and commercial sources is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Links to non-federal organizations are provided solely as a service to our users. Links do not constitute an endorsement of any organization by CDC or the federal government, and none should be inferred. CDC is not responsible for the content of the individual organizations.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

1600 Clifton Rd   Atlanta, GA 30329   1-800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636)   TTY: 888-232-6348
Questions or Problems  |  Unsubscribe