CVS Announces Community-Based Strategy COVID-19 Vaccine Education and Equity

By McKenzie Carpenter Friday, February 19, 2021

COVID-19 vaccine has begun all over the world as the elderly, healthcare, essential employees, and immuno-compromised communities are the first to receive it. CVS Health announced today the company is introducing a community-based strategy to tackle potential inequalities related to COVID-19 vaccine access for vulnerable communities, with special focus on Black and Hispanic populations.

CVS Pharmacy storefront.

New Company Strategy

CVS Health, the $92.61 billion business, introduced Friday a new community-based strategy to increase vaccination access and advance COVID-19 vaccine education for vulnerable communities. Included in the company strategy is patient outreach, community-based partnerships and vaccine clinics, and education-focused marketing efforts. The goal of the business strategy is to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates in Black and Hispanic communities.

The president and CEO of the business said, “We are committed to reaching people of color and underserved communities to ensure health equity as we work to vaccinate all Americans.” She added, “Our presence in communities across the country uniquely positions CVS Health to educate vulnerable populations and connect them with vaccine administration services.”

Almost half of the 10,000 CVS locations nationwide are located within communities that are ranked high or very high by the CDC and Prevention Social Vulnerability Index, or SVI. In addition, the company is working with nonprofit organizations and community leaders in vulnerable communities to distribute educational material on the vaccines available in English and Spanish. CVS is also making COVID-19 vaccine appointments more accessible. Text messages and emails from pharmacists to encourage vaccination and reduce vaccine hesitancy is another outreach business strategy.

Furthermore, through partnerships with Lyft and YMCA, CVS is developing mobile vaccination sites and creating community-based clinics. With Lyft, the rideshare business will provide free or discounted rides for those that need to reach an appointment for the vaccine.

Through community-based efforts and strategic partnerships, the company will be able to help the underserved, vulnerable communities.

COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout

Besides health departments and hospitals, CVS is not the only business that offers the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is also available at Walgreens and Rite Aid. The vaccine rollout is a unique business opportunity for the pharmacies to increase foot traffic. While each company has its own strategy for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, minority populations have been getting vaccinated much less than the white population.

Internal data from CVS indicates that 35% of Black Americans do not plan on getting the vaccination once they are able to do so. Additionally, the CDC reported that 34% of COVID-19 related deaths were among non-Hispanic Black people. Another report from the CDC indicates that Black, Hispanic, and Native Americans are dying at rates two to three times higher than white Americans.

With all of that said, if CVS can execute its new company strategy, there is hope that minority populations will have increased access to the vaccine and educational materials, which will potentially reduce death rates.

About the Author

Headshot of McKenzie Carpenter

McKenzie Carpenter is a graduate of Central Michigan University with a B.A.A. in Integrative Public Relations and French. McKenzie has previously worked for small businesses and nonprofit organizations.

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