GREER, S.C. (WSPA) – In order to try and protect Americans against COVID-19, 400 million N95 masks will be available from the National Stockpile.

“It’s a very, very good initiative for the community,” said Rick Gehricke, with Carolina Face Mask & PPE.

The White House says these free N95’s will be available at pharmacies and local health centers, starting next week, that have partnered with the government’s Covid-19 Vaccination Campaign. Like, CVS and Walgreens. Rick Gehricke is with the Carolina Face Mask & PPE. They produce three-layer disposable masks for the community, while also distributing N95 masks.

“The most important thing as a consumer, as a mask wearer, is to understand the certifications of the mask, where they come from, what materials are in them, and all of those things,” said Gehricke.

He says the ones they distribute are certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

“That’s what Niosh is for, the certifying body for the N95s, that’s the key piece you’re looking for. They go through rounds and rounds of testing and quality controls, and quality measures,” he said.

He says your typical three-layer disposable masks have a middle layer that acts as an absorbent.

“That’s what actually gives you the high-filtration and bacterial filtration rates. The N95 takes that a step further with behind the head, head-strapping. It really prevents any sort of leakage you may get from some of the flatter three-ply masks,” said Gehricke.

The White House says by early February the program will be completely up and running. They also say three masks will be available per person, to help give Americans’ access.