On April 29, CVS Health announced it recently began administering COVID-19 vaccines at employer-based vaccination clinics through CVS Health Return Ready, helping to increase access to vaccinations for employees following expanded eligibility to all adults in the United States and an increasing vaccine supply. With vaccine hesitancy on the rise, federal and state governments are looking to partners, like employers and CVS Health, to help by making vaccines more convenient to access and enhancing public education efforts.
CVS Health is managing employer vaccination clinics for 18 employers across 51 locations, which began with Delta Air Lines in February 2021. The New York Shipping Association worked with Return Ready to operate vaccination clinics that included the International Longshoremen’s Association and its members, and the City of Philadelphia is also working with Return Ready on vaccination clinics for all city employees.
“The widespread rollout of COVID-19 vaccines is a welcome and hopeful new chapter in the fight against the global pandemic. Return Ready can help employers increase their capacity to vaccinate and help bring Americans back to worksites safely,” said Sree Chaguturu, MD, Chief Medical Officer of CVS Caremark. “Anchored on clinical consultation, Return Ready has successfully delivered COVID-19 testing solutions to more than 100 employers. We built upon our extensive experience and infrastructure for employer testing to now offer employer vaccination clinics.”
Besides, the company also announced the launch of CVS Health Ventures, a dedicated corporate venture capital fund that will invest in and partner with high-potential, early-stage companies focused on making health care more accessible, affordable, and simpler.
CVS Health Return Ready
Return Ready, first introduced as a customizable COVID-19 testing solution in June 2020, now includes COVID-19 vaccination options in addition to clinical protocols, digital scheduling tools and detailed reporting to meet the unique worksite needs of employers. As part of the vaccination offering, CVS Health is responsible for administering vaccinations at onsite clinics with trained health care staff who can also answer patient questions about the vaccine and direct them to appropriate resources. Until recently, CVS Health administered vaccines for employers that directly secured allocation from their state government. With eligibility expanded and vaccine supply increasing, CVS Health is now able to help employers obtain a vaccine supply where available.
“CVS Health has been a trusted partner in helping Delta protect our employees and give travelers peace of mind with the launch of our employee COVID-19 testing program last year,” said Dr. Henry Ting, Chief Health Officer at Delta Air Lines. “With the help of Return Ready, we are proud to be a leader in rolling out a successful employer-based vaccination program to help our people and customers reclaim their lives.
“Delta selected CVS Health as its partner to begin administering vaccines to eligible employees at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. To date, CVS Health has administered more than 29,123 vaccines to Delta employees across five sites and conducted 181,442 tests. “It’s important to note that COVID-19 vaccinations, along with preventative measures, regular testing and timely treatment will all remain critical until we reach the end of the pandemic,” said Dr. Chaguturu.
The Venture Fund
The fund will initially launch with $100 million allocated for investments and will focus on companies with the potential for technology-enabled innovation and disruption in digital health care that are anchored in CVS Health’s core strategy. CVS Health Ventures will build relationships with early-stage companies via investment as well as by offering expertise and insights from CVS Health’s unique perspective. “Consumers deserve a better health experience, one that puts them at the center of cutting-edge, digitally enabled solutions,” said Karen S. Lynch, President and CEO, CVS Health. “Forming CVS Health Ventures will build on our successful track record of scaling innovation and driving change in health care.”
CVS Health has already made more than 20 direct investments through the CVS and Aetna businesses. These investments have delivered consistently strong returns and partnerships. Current investments include Unite Us, a technology platform that connects health care and social services providers, and LumiraDx, an innovative point-of-care diagnostic platform.
“We have deep experience investing in innovative companies,” said Josh Flum, Executive Vice President, Enterprise Strategy & Business Development, CVS Health. “We will build on this experience by providing capital to our start-up and venture partners and helping them scale more rapidly through commercial relationships with our business units. This is an exciting opportunity to accelerate innovation and effectively bring new solutions to the consumer health space.”