TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The Federal Government announced it will be shipping millions of N95 masks to community health centers and pharmacies around the country next week.

Experts say these masks offer more protection than regular surgical masks, which is why pharmacies in East Texas are eager to get the shipment.

Many pharmacies in East Texas are completely sold out of the N95 masks, but Drug Emporium in Tyler currently has KN95 masks, which is what is used overseas. There’s only one minor difference, the KN95 masks are tested to fit properly on a human’s face, the N95’s are not required to pass any testing in that manner.

Pharmacist David Davis of Drug Emporium said the demand for the masks has increased but luckily they have been able to keep them stocked.

“Ever since the information came out through the media that [the N95] was the better mask, we are selling them almost exclusively now,” Davis said. “Now, people are coming in seeking something with a 95 on it so that it filters out that 95% [of infected air].”

Many pharmacies around town haven’t received notification on whether or not they will be getting a shipment from the government next week, but they are prepared to distribute them if so.

Although the N95 masks are the best mask option to protect against the virus, that doesn’t mean it’s time to throw away your surgical masks because something is better than nothing.

“Viruses are much smaller than bacteria…traditionally thinner masks, even though they may seem like they are providing a great deal of protection, viruses are very small so they sneak through, especially around the sides, and if you’re not wearing the masks properly,” said pharmacist Shawn Sams.

You will be able to pick up the N95 masks at participating pharmacies and health centers and there is a limit of three masks per person.