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CVS teams up with U.S. employers to vaccinate working Americans

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CVS announced that it would be working with U.S. employers to open up on-site COVID-19 vaccination clinics. Anjalee Khemlani and Chief Medical Officer at CVS Caremark Sree Chaguturu discuss what this initiative will mean for the future of working Americans.

Video Transcript

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: So we're looking at all that is going on with vaccinations here in the US. Of course, we know that while there is still a push for vaccinations, there has been a slight decrease. But CVS is looking at just how to make sure that testing and vaccinations continue as the economy reopens. Joining us now is Sree Chaguturu, the Chief Medical Officer of CVS Caremark. Dr. Chaguturu, thanks for joining us today. How are you?

SREE CHAGUTURU: It's a pleasure to be here. Thank you so much.

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Excellent. So let's talk about this Return to Work program, Return to University program as well. Looking at the needs right now, how is this program supposed to fit and expand to get to all the places that I'm sure you're getting calls from?

SREE CHAGUTURU: Thanks, Anjalee. So we started a program called Return Ready in June of 2020 where we were providing consultative support to employers to help them-- and universities-- to help them understand the role of testing and securing the worksite. And we've evolved that program over the past couple of months to now introduce vaccination services.

And what's really changed is that as supplies have expanded, as eligibility has expanded, we now have the opportunity to provide vaccine services on site to employers and universities to help them vaccinate their workforce.

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: And this, of course, comes as we know that broadly speaking the US, vaccinations have been declining. So there is that extra supply. But there have also been reports that through the long term care vaccination process, there were some wasted doses. How are you trying to avoid that now with this new push?

SREE CHAGUTURU: It's a great question. And so early on during the vaccine rollout, during the long term care program, there was very strict requirements that were related to how vaccines could be used and what could be done with extra doses. As we've moved forward in the vaccination rollout across the country, we have worked on optimizing the use of those vaccine doses in those vials.

Right now, our vaccine wastage in retail stores is extremely limited. So we have approximately 0.1% of vaccine doses that are wasted, which is about 1 in 1,000 doses. And just to put it into context, when we look at multi-dose vials for vaccines, historically the wastage has been-- across all of health care-- anywhere between 5% to 8%.

So we have-- we are seeing across the country, and especially at CVS Health, a renewed effort to control and limit waste. And that will allow us to extend the number of doses that are used across the country.

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Meanwhile, looking at generally speaking the vaccination process right now, CVS has noted that testing and vaccinations have really helped buoy the retail segment in earnings yesterday. Going forward, there's also expected to be a continued reduction. So I just wonder if you could spell out, does this help with shifting sort of where the supply goes with this Ready Return program?

SREE CHAGUTURU: That's right. With Return Ready, we have the opportunity to provide those vaccination services to employers and universities. We have seen over the last couple of weeks nationally, a decline in the number of individuals who have been seeking vaccines. However, there have been over 300 million doses across the country. 17 million doses have been provided by CBS Health across 49 states.

And moving forward, we see expanded authorization to children as well. And I would just say the role, the critical role that employers play, cannot be understated. When there's multiple surveys, one from the Kaiser Family Foundation, which shows a quarter of employees would be more likely to get a vaccine if they got it from their employer site.

A McKinsey survey recently done that said almost 80% of individuals would be more likely to get a vaccine if it were done on employer site. So there really is that opportunity to continue to provide vaccinations in a convenient way, whether or not it's in the community, with a CVS pharmacy location, or on site.