CVS Pharmacy prides itself on not only providing accessible and affordable healthcare options through medications and vaccinations, but also being a fixture in communities that consumers can rely on. With just shy of 10,000 stores in the United States, CVS has most recently taken on the responsibility of administering COVID-19 vaccinations, but before that they were credited with opening the first private sector COVID-19 testing site in the country.
In March of 2020, Emmanuel Kolady, SVP of Retail Operations at CVS Health lead the retailer to open it’s first testing center in Shrewsbury, MA. Adding Lowell, MA, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Atlanta to the list of operating sites shortly thereafter. CVS was testing 5,000 people per day and supplying results in 20 minutes. By May 15, 2020 there were 50 CVS testing locations and two weeks later, thousands of CVS stores throughout the U.S. followed.
Learn more about retail's role in vaccinating the public here.
Now that vaccinations are the next step in decreasing the COVID-19 case count, Kolady spoke about this newfound responsibility and the planning that has gone behind the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Leading 5,000 East Coast CVS locations he says that his team, “understands what the moment calls for” and, “believes we have met that challenge”.
Working with individual states and long term care facilities, CVS goes to great lengths to research where these sites are needed the most. Taking into account the vulnerable populations of senior citizens and essential workers, CVS also utilizes the CDC as a resource. To prevent underserved communities from not having easy access to testing and vaccination, the private sector company uses the CDC vulnerability index for deciding which CVS locations to roll out these services. Communities with a medium to high index, according to CDC standards are picked first. With most CVS testing sites giving out 170,000 tests per day at roughly 4,700 locations, the vaccination rollout will be no different in making a substantial impact.
Kolady stated, “We live by our purpose, we’re a purpose driven company that is helping people on their path to better health”. The company’s goal is to vaccinate one million people per day among their nearly 10,000 stores. He added, “there is a CVS location within five miles of 80 percent of the United States population. We’re in a position to play a huge role in this vaccination effort.”