CVS settles COVID-19 vaccine registration portal claims

CVS PHARMACY INC. has reached a settlement over allegations its vaccine registration portal was not accessible to people with disabilities, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. / GENE J. PUSKAR / ASSOCIATED PRESS

PROVIDENCE – CVS Pharmacy Inc. has reached a settlement over allegations its COVID-19 vaccine registration portal was not accessible to people with disabilities, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said on Monday.

An investigation determined the CVS vaccine portal at was not accessible to people with certain disabilities, including those who use screen reader software or struggle using a mouse.  

At the start of the scheduling process, the types of vaccine appointments offered, which included others in addition to the COVID-19 option, were not read to screen reader users. On the page where a user picks a time for their appointment, screen reader users were told that all available times were “checked,” even though the user had not made any selection.  

Additionally, people who use the “Tab” key instead of a mouse to navigate websites were not able to navigate past a request for insurance information.  

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“While web accessibility is always important, when it comes to critical health services [such as] COVID-19 vaccination, making sure that everyone – regardless of disability – can access information and care is essential,” said U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Cunha of the District of Rhode Island. “This office is committed to vigorously enforcing the ADA to eliminate unnecessary barriers that stand in the way of lifesaving care.” 

Under the agreement, CVS will facilitate accessibility by conforming its web content on the COVID-19 vaccine, including the forms for scheduling an appointment to get the vaccine, to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.  

The agreement also requires CVS to regularly test the pages of its website that include vaccine scheduling and information about the COVID-19 vaccine and fix any problems that keep people with disabilities from being able to use these pages. 

Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act requires public accommodations such as drugstores and grocery stores to provide individuals with disabilities with full and equal enjoyment of goods and services. The ADA also requires public accommodations to provide effective communication with people with disabilities, including via auxiliary aids and services like accessible technology. 

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