CVS and Feds Reach Agreement on Availability of Vaccine Portal

Officials said Monday that CVS Pharmacy has reached an agreement with federal prosecutors that will make the online vaccination planning portal fully accessible to people with disabilities.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Rhode Island said the company, which operates nearly 10,000 retail pharmacies nationwide, violated the Americans with Disabilities Act because the portal was inaccessible to people using screen reader software designed for the visually impaired, and for those who find it difficult to use the mouse.

For example, a federal investigation found that the types of vaccines on offer, including COVID-19, influenza and pneumonia, were not read to users of screen readers, prosecutors said.

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In addition, on a page where users can schedule a meeting, screen reader users were told that all available times had been checked, even if the user hadn’t made a choice, prosecutors said.

In addition, the prosecutor’s office said that people who used the tab key instead of a mouse to navigate websites could not get past the request for information about insurance.

“While online accessibility is always important when it comes to essential healthcare services such as COVID-19 vaccinations, ensuring that everyone – regardless of disability – can access information and care is essential.” , — said the US Attorney in Rhode Island, Zachary Kunya. . “This office is committed to vigorous ADA enforcement to remove unnecessary barriers to lifesaving assistance.”

There was no admission of wrongdoing by CVS in the agreement.

Woonsocket-based CVS Pharmacy, a division of CVS Health, has agreed to ensure that its vaccination planning portal complies with industry guidelines for making online information accessible to users with disabilities, and to regularly test the website and quickly resolve any issues that arise.

“We are committed to keeping our communities healthy, which includes making COVID-19 vaccinations available to all eligible patients,” CVS Pharmacy said in a statement. “Our digital planning tool is frequently updated and enhanced to provide an equitable and optimal user experience, and we are committed to ensuring that it continues to provide a seamless experience for people with disabilities and address any accessibility issues that may arise.”

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