Vials of hope: COVID-19 vaccinations are rolled out

Vials of hope: COVID-19 vaccinations are rolled out
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With two COVID-19 vaccines now authorized by the FDA for emergency use, CVS Health has stepped up to help administer vaccinations across the country. In this edition of Healthy Communities News, we spotlight the vaccine effort in long-term care facilities. They are among the first to receive the shots, since these facilities have accounted for nearly 40% of the overall fatalities.

Many seniors and their caregivers were thrilled to be given priority in the vaccine rollout. “I want to be the first person on the list,” said Coraline Diggs, a resident at Genesis HealthCare in Maryland. The effort has been a ray of hope for those giving the vaccinations, as well. CVS Pharmacist Jocelyn Schrum is eagerly anticipating a return to more normal times. “I’m looking forward so much to when I can give my patients hugs again.”

Now that vaccines are finally here, we want you to share in the excitement of this historic moment. So, for our first 2021 podcast, we’re taking you behind-the-scenes with Dr. Jocelyn Shrum, one of the CVS pharmacists responsible for training people across the country who make it all work. We speak with her the day after she and her team first administered vaccines in Nashville, Tennessee, where she gets vaccinated herself. Then we check in with Jewel Statham, a nursing assistant, and Julian Holland, a resident at Heartland Promedica in Ohio — who just got vaccinated as well. May listening make you as hopeful for the year ahead as they are.

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Listen to Healthy Communities News on the go using your favorite podcast platform.

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An essential long-term care worker receives a COVID-19 vaccination.
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Our commitment to mental wellbeing

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The mental health system can be complicated, unfamiliar, and hard to navigate for most people. The stigma attached to mental illness and addiction prevents people from seeking treatment, and for those who do seek help, it can be hard to find quality care in a timely manner.

CVS Health proactively supports individuals across the mental wellbeing continuum, building mental health resilience among those who are currently healthy, providing emotional wellbeing and social determinant support for those who are stressed or struggling, and robust clinical support and case management for individuals with a mental illness — and everything in between.


Working in our communities, and in partnership with providers and employers, CVS Health holistically addresses physical and mental health to improve overall health.

Engagement across the care continuum

We have developed a variety of access points — CVS Pharmacy®, Resources for Living (PDF), new technology and more — to improve mental wellbeing and health outcomes for members and families, their employers, and communities.

Flattening the second curve of COVID-19

As we combat the physical effects of COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are simultaneously confronted with deep feelings of stress, fear and anxiety. We are facing profound loss, economic uncertainty, social isolation, and worry for the health of those we love. This time of mental and emotional crisis is the ‘second curve’ of the pandemic, and we must work together to flatten this curve, too.

We’re proud to offer expanded mental wellbeing services and resources to support our most significantly impacted groups — frontline health care workers,  essential workers,  seniors, and furloughed and laid-off workers.

Learn more about resource we’re offering to help flatten the second curve.

Here 4 U

We understand life can feel overwhelming for young adults right now: COVID-19 has closed schools, isolated them from friends and family members and impacted their day-to-day lives in countless ways. That’s why we’ve launched the Here 4 U program as part of our Time For Care initiative to provide much needed mental health resources and education to young adults as well as other groups in need of special attention in the wake of the pandemic.

Reducing the number of suicides

Part of CVS Health’s commitment to helping people on their path to better health is a focus on reversing the devastating suicide trends in the United States. With the right intervention and support, suicide is known to be preventable. We offer resources to support a variety of groups — young adults and college students, attempt survivors, Aetna members and CVS Health colleagues.

Learn more about the suicide prevention resources we offer.

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Resources

Resources for Living (RFL) offers a variety of well-being services and support options for everyone–even for those not on an Aetna insurance plan. Individuals can call our Resources for Living (RFL) line at 1-833-327-AETNA (1-833-327-2386) for in-the-moment phone support.

Emotional well-being resources to support you and your loved ones. These include tools to manage stress and anxiety, support parents and children, and care for your own mental health.

Learn about your emotional health and take needed action. Take a simple depression check or take a simple anxiety check.

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2020: A year like no other

2020: A year like no other
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Danielle Taylor, a CVS Pharmacy District Leader in New Orleans told us, “2020 is one for the books!” In addition to battling with COVID-19, they’ve had an unforgiving run of hurricanes. Danielle has had quite the year herself, as both a daughter and a mother, navigating this pandemic up close and personal. We first met her and her team back in May.

As you’ll see, for this episode of Healthy Communities News, we’re bringing you updates from the inspiring stories we’ve covered over the past year — people rising to meet unprecedented challenges, together.

In this episode of the podcast (below), we’ll take you from Atlanta’s Westside, where its civil rights history still inspires today’s movements; to Boston, where a gutsy nonprofit that’s been using food as medicine for 30 years has reinvented itself in the face of the coronavirus. As well as Miami-Dade County where Branches is equipping students in new ways to keep learning. And downtown Houston, Texas, where the San José Clinic seems to have been preparing for a healthcare crisis just like the one we find ourselves in… since 1922.

Tune in and subscribe to our podcast

Listen to Healthy Communities News on the go using your favorite podcast platform.

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Tackling adolescent smoking and vaping

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As if there weren’t enough reasons for adolescents to avoid tobacco use, here’s yet another: Young adults who smoke or vape are five to seven times more likely to contract COVID-19 and to experience the virus’s more serious symptoms.

Even without added COVID-19 risks, tobacco remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in this country, says Dr. Albert Rizzo, American Lung Association Chief Medical Officer. And adolescence is the prime time to start smoking: Almost 90% of today’s adult daily smokers started by the age of 18.

In 2014, CVS Health became the first and only national retail pharmacy to address this public health crisis by removing tobacco products from stores. 

“The sale of tobacco products was inconsistent with our company purpose, which is helping people on their path to better health,” says Eileen Howard Boone, SVP, Corporate Social Responsibility & Philanthropy. “Removing tobacco products from our stores was the right thing to do for the health of our customers, clients and community.”

CVS Health also launched its Be The First initiative in 2016. The five-year, $50 million project partnered with community organizations to help raise the first tobacco-free generation.

Be The First is informed by three pillars: education & awareness, advocacy and healthy behaviors. The program’s education initiative focuses on the dangers of tobacco with the help of partners like the CATCH Global Foundation, creators of CATCH My Breath — a youth electronic cigarette and vaping prevention program. 

For the program’s second pillar of youth advocacy, The CVS Health Foundation partnered with Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, which offers comprehensive youth advocacy training.

“Being able to give youth tools and resources to promote tobacco-free living in their communities helps move the needle,” Eileen says.

The third, and maybe most important pillar, promotes healthy behaviors. To that end, the company partnered with the Yale Center for Health & Learning Games, which launched an interactive video game that significantly increases e-cigarette risk perception.

After five years, Be The First reached 15 million youth with its messaging and exceeded many of its objectives. 

Then non-traditional tobacco products — e-cigarettes — arrived. 

Although use is trending down, 3.6 million youth still use e-cigarettes — epidemic proportions, states the Surgeon General.

Facing this new challenge, CVS Health will continue to work toward a tobacco-free generation, says Eileen, and to spread the bottom-line message: “No amount of nicotine is safe for young people.”

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CVS Health completes rollout of time delay safes in all of its Oklahoma pharmacies

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New Safes for controlled substances anticipated to help reduce robbery incidents

All 79 CVS Pharmacy locations in the state now using time-delay safe technology

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — As part of an ongoing commitment to helping build healthier and safer communities, CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) completed the installation of time delay safe technology in all of its 79 Oklahoma CVS Pharmacy locations, including those in Target stores. The safes are anticipated to help prevent pharmacy robberies and the potential for associated diversion of controlled substance medications including opioid medications such as oxycodone and hydrocodone by electronically delaying the time it takes for pharmacy employees to open the safe. In addition, the safes are anticipated to help CVS Pharmacy ensure the safety and well-being of its customers and employees.

"I commend the leadership of CVS Pharmacy for implementing this technology that will act as a deterrent for would-be pharmacy thieves and will also thwart diversion from stores," said Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter. "The opioid epidemic has ravaged communities across our state and nation. With the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, experts have seen a resurgence of opioid addictions. This technology will ensure the safety of those behind the counter and from these dangerous drugs getting into the wrong hands. Innovation and ingenuity are just as important as policy proposals when protecting our communities. I thank the company for its work in keeping Oklahomans safe."

CVS Health first implemented time delay safe technology in 2015 in CVS Pharmacy locations across Indianapolis, a city experiencing a high volume of pharmacy robberies at the time. The company saw a 70 percent decline in pharmacy robberies among the Indianapolis stores where time delay safes had been installed.

Since then, the company has introduced time delay safes across 15 states and the District of Columbia, resulting in a 50 percent decline in robberies at CVS pharmacies in those local communities.

"Pharmacy robberies are a challenging issue for every pharmacy, and we are committed to doing all we can to reduce the number of incidents in our Oklahoma stores," said Tom Moriarty, Chief Policy Officer and General Counsel, CVS Health. "We have seen that time delay safes, combined with other security policies and procedures in place at our stores, can greatly reduce these incidents and are pleased to roll out this enhanced security measure. These safes will help ensure that our pharmacies remain a safe environment for our patients and colleagues."

The time delay function cannot be overridden and is designed to serve as a deterrent to would-be pharmacy robbers whose goal is to enter and exit their robbery targets as quickly as possible. All CVS Pharmacy locations in Oklahoma with time delay safes display visible signage warning that time delay safes are in use to prevent on-demand access to controlled substance narcotics.

CVS Health's time delay safe program is one of many company initiatives to help address and prevent prescription opioid misuse and diversion.

Through its Safe Medication Disposal Program in Oklahoma, for example, the company has installed 23 drug disposal kiosks in select CVS Pharmacy locations in the state.

Presently, the company supports more than 2,800 safe medication disposal units in CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide. Over the past several years, the company has also donated over 1,000 units to local law enforcement. Together, these existing medication disposal units have collected more than 2.1 million pounds of unwanted medications that might otherwise have been diverted, misused or ended up in the water supply.

Located in the pharmacy area of the CVS store and similar in design to a postal box, the safe medication disposal units allow customers to drop off unused prescriptions in a container or in sealed plastic bags if liquids or multiple medications are included.

Additionally, CVS Pharmacy locations that do not offer a safe medication disposal kiosk offer DisposeRx packets at no cost to patients filling an opioid prescription for the first time. According to the manufacturer, when warm water and the DisposeRx powder are added to a container, the combination breaks down medications including powders, pills, capsules, tablets, liquids or patches to a non-divertible biodegradable gel, allowing for safe disposal in the trash at home.

CVS Health's commitment to helping prevent and address drug misuse and diversion also extends to community education and increasing access to the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone.

Our Pharmacists Teach Program connects volunteer CVS pharmacists with local students to encourage conversation and teach youth about the dangers of prescription drug misuse. Since 2015, our pharmacists have volunteered their time and delivered curriculum to nearly 600,000 teens and parents across the country. We've partnered with Discovery Education to expand the reach of Pharmacists Teach into more classrooms with a no-cost digital prevention program called Dose of Knowledge. This program provides standards-aligned resources to educators and pharmacists across the U.S. and strives to empower educators and pharmacists to address substance misuse and educate students to make good decisions for the health and well-being of themselves and their community.

Finally, CVS Pharmacy patients can now access the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone without an individual prescription at every CVS Pharmacy location nationwide, including all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. CVS Health has also worked with Google to help people locate naloxone at CVS Pharmacy and other locations in their community using Google's locator tool.

With its national reach and local presence, CVS Health has been working hard to help address opioid misuse and diversion with an enterprise-wide approach. To learn more about CVS Health's efforts, visit the company's Opioid Response website.

For downloadable time delay safe photos, please visit the Media Resource Center.

About CVS Health

CVS Health is a different kind of health care company. We are a diversified health services company with nearly 300,000 employees united around a common purpose of helping people on their path to better health. In an increasingly connected and digital world, we are meeting people wherever they are and changing health care to meet their needs. Built on a foundation of unmatched community presence, our diversified model engages one in three Americans each year. From our innovative new services at HealthHUB locations, to transformative programs that help manage chronic conditions, we are making health care more accessible, more affordable and simply better. Learn more about how we're transforming health at www.cvshealth.com.

Media contact

Monica Prinzing
831-241-8294
PrinzingM@aetna.com

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CVS Health increases access to flu vaccines in communities of need

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WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) today announced it is supporting a nearly $3 million commitment to increasing access to flu vaccines for underserved communities throughout the country. Through its Project Health initiative, CVS Health is contributing $2 million to the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (NAFC) to help distribute flu vaccines to those who may otherwise not have access. Additionally, the company is working with Bank of America and General Motors to support increased access to flu vaccines in even more communities nationwide.

"Underserved communities have been hit particularly hard by COVID-19, so supporting flu prevention in these communities is even more important," said Eileen Howard Boone, SVP of Corporate Social Responsibility and Philanthropy, CVS Health. "Through our work with Free Clinics, and in teaming up with Bank of America and General Motors, we aim to expand our reach to individuals who may not otherwise have access to flu vaccines."

CVS Health's Project Health flu initiative will support free and charitable clinics in areas across the country, helping clinics increase capacity to provide flu vaccinations. Clinics in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas will receive support. These grants extend the mission of Project Health which aims to break down the barriers for people to access quality and affordable health care.

"We are grateful to CVS Health for their continued commitment to supporting the work of Free and Charitable Clinics which provide access to needed health care services to underserved communities throughout the country," said Nicole Lamoureux, NAFC President and CEO. "This program will allow clinics to distribute needed flu vaccines to people in their communities that otherwise might not have access to vaccinations."

In addition to contributing to the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, CVS Health is working with Bank of America and General Motors to reach even more individuals in these areas of significant need. Bank of America is funding vouchers for free flu vaccines, redeemable at CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations in seven select cities: Boston, Detroit, Dallas, Jacksonville, Oklahoma City, Phoenix and Greater Washington, D.C. Additionally, General Motors is funding vouchers for free flu vaccines, redeemable at CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations in the Los Angeles area and across southern California.

"We are committed to working with the public and nonprofit sectors as one global community to address this health crisis and to provide the necessary resources to protect our most vulnerable populations," said Andrew Plepler, head of Environmental, Social and Governance at Bank of America. "Offering access to free flu prevention complements our other health-focused efforts including supplying PPE, supporting community-based testing and care, addressing food insecurity and providing access to mental health resources."

Flu prevention is critical during the COVID-19 pandemic so hospitals are not overwhelmed with cases of both COVID-19 and flu. And with seasonal flu outbreaks beginning as early as October and lasting as late as May, it is never too late to get a flu shot as it is the best defense against getting the flu. Getting a flu shot is one way to help protect individual health, especially for those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illnesses and people with certain chronic health conditions, like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

"We are proud to collaborate with CVS Health to increase access to flu vaccines for underserved communities in the Los Angeles area and across southern California," said Dr. Jeffery Hess, General Motors Chief Medical Director. "Now more than ever, it is important to be protected with a flu shot to help reduce flu illnesses and prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic. So many communities are enduring multiple crises during this difficult time, and we are grateful to be able to provide this support."

About CVS Health

CVS Health is a different kind of health care company. We are a diversified health services company with nearly 300,000 employees united around a common purpose of helping people on their path to better health. In an increasingly connected and digital world, we are meeting people wherever they are and changing health care to meet their needs. Built on a foundation of unmatched community presence, our diversified model engages one in three Americans each year. From our innovative new services at HealthHUB locations, to transformative programs that help manage chronic conditions, we are making health care more accessible, more affordable and simply better. Learn more about how we're transforming health at www.cvshealth.com.

Media contact

Courtney Tavener
401-712-3698
Courtney.Tavener@CVSHealth.com

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Health with Heart

We’re working to improve the health care experience for all, through innovative products and services and in communities nationwide.

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Building healthy communities

We’re committed to tackling public health challenges at the local level and driving inclusive and sustainable business in support of the communities we serve.

Learn how we’re building healthy communities

Improving health care

By looking at the whole picture of care, we’re working to make health more accessible, affordable and simply better.

Learn more about how we’re improving health care
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Innovations in care

Through new technologies, more personalized solutions and better ways to manage chronic conditions, we aim to create a more seamless health care experience for all.

Learn how we’re innovating health care

Improving health care

Healthy Conversations, Episode 2: COVID-19 Recovery

In this episode, Dr. Eric Topol of Scripps Research and Harvard’s Dr. Caroline Buckey, join our own Adam Pellegrini and Firdaus Bhathena to explore the cross-section of big data and virtual care.

Watch & listen to this episode

Building healthy communities

Providing access to food in Boston

During the pandemic, we’ve provided funding that has allowed Boston Medical Center to provide 
no-cost meals to more than 2,000 low-income individuals.

Read more

COVID-19 support

Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve been focused on the critical health care needs stemming from this crisis, including widespread access to testing and vaccinations and addressing inequities in the communities most impacted by the virus.

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Our enterprise-wide COVID-19 response

Our entire company, including every one of our business units and our nearly 300,000 employees have worked since the start of the pandemic to support our customers, communities and patients through this difficult time.

As the pandemic evolves, we will continue to be part of the solution and we stand ready to provide COVID-19 vaccinations once they are available.

Read our COVID-19 Response report

Latest on COVID-19 support

Inclusivity & sustainability

We are committed to driving inclusive and sustainable business in support of the communities we serve.

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Public health challenges

The path to better health is not always a straight line and we recognize that there are many health-related challenges facing communities today. We strive to make the biggest impact possible, both through funding and by changing the way our company operates.

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Latest on public health challenges