CVS Working With Corporate America to Vaccinate Employees

CVS Health Corp. is pitching employee vaccinations in an expansion of the return-to-work service the health-care company started last year.

CVS is already working with 18 employers across the country, including Delta Air Lines Inc. and the city of Philadelphia. Interest has grown recently with the Covid-19 vaccine becoming more plentiful and all U.S. adults becoming eligible for shots this month, said Sree Chaguturu, chief medical officer for CVS’s Caremark pharmacy-benefits manager.

“We see significant interest and a very large pipeline now that vaccine supply has expanded,” Chaguturu said in an interview.

CVS introduced its “Return Ready” program last year to provide Covid-19 testing for companies and universities. That part of the program has served more than 100 clients, CVS said, with immunizations an obvious extension.

Delta started working with CVS last year to test its roughly 80,000 U.S. employees. Georgia health officials notified Atlanta-based Delta in February that they would supply the airline with shots for its employees and members of the community. CVS “jumped to the occasion” to help Delta with the clinics, said Peter Carter, Delta’s chief legal officer.

Delta has one clinic in a concourse at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and another at the Delta Flight Museum on the company’s corporate campus near the airport, he said. The airline also has partnered with CVS to administer shots in New York, Detroit and North Carolina’s Raleigh-Durham area.

“It’s been a great success from our perspective,” Carter said in an interview. “The partnership with CVS couldn’t have been better.”

Workforce Vaccination

Employers increasingly are expected to play a key role in getting U.S. adults inoculated, with the pace of vaccinations in the U.S. starting to slow. Companies can make it convenient for workers to get their shots and with many seeking to get employees back in their workplaces, they have an incentive to do so.

“Anything we can do to reduce the burden on employees will help address the hesitancy people might have around getting a vaccine,” Chaguturu said.

At first, CVS couldn’t easily accommodate clients as vaccine supplies were tight and states were limiting eligibility. That started changing in April, Chaguturu said, and CVS has bandwidth to help companies obtain shots and administer them in the workplace.

Chaguturu declined to provide details on how much CVS is charging employers to vaccinate their workers. Carter, from Delta, wasn’t aware of how much Delta is paying CVS to administer the shots.

“Whatever it is, I can tell you it’s completely worth it,” Carter said.

CVS has administered about 30,000 doses through its Delta partnership, according to Carter. About 50% of Delta’s workers are vaccinated, a number that makes sense at this point, Carter said. The company may try other strategies to reach employees, such as mobile clinics, recognizing that not everyone wants to go to a mass site. Delta doesn’t plan to mandate immunization.

Companies and universities remain interested in Covid-19 testing even amid the vaccination campaign, Chaguturu said. Exactly how often CVS recommends screening varies by the community’s rate of transmission and the type of work people do, he said.

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