CVS will update online COVID-19 portal for people with disabilities, DOJ says

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – AUGUST 26: A man wearing masks walks past a CVS pharmacy where a ‘Free flue shots here’ sign is displayed as the city continues Phase 4 of reopening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus on August 26,

The Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island announced that it would be easier for people with disabilities to register for a COVID-19 vaccine with CVS Pharmacy Online.

The ministry announced a settlement with the company to remove barriers that prevented some customers with disabilities from obtaining COVID-19 vaccine information and booking appointments online.

Federal officials said they discovered that CVS’s COVID-19 vaccine registration portal was not accessible to people who use screen-reading software or have difficulty using a mouse.

RELATED: People with Disabilities Face More Barriers to Accessing COVID-19 Vaccine, CDC Data Shows

Officials said the types of vaccination appointments offered were not read audibly to screen reader users early in the scheduling process. They also pointed out that on the page where users choose a time for their appointment, screen reader users were told that all available times were “checked”, even if the user hadn’t made any selection. Additionally, people who used the “Tab” key instead of a mouse to navigate websites were unable to bypass a request for insurance information during the registration process.

As part of the settlement, CVS will modify its web content to comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The WCAGs are a set of voluntary industry guidelines aimed at making information on a website accessible to users with disabilities.

CVS also agreed that the company will regularly test the pages of its website that include vaccine planning and COVID-19 vaccine information and will promptly resolve any issues preventing people with disabilities from using these pages.

“Now more than ever, we must ensure web accessibility for people with disabilities who want to access essential needs and services,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in a statement. hurry. “We are working aggressively to identify and remove barriers that prevent people with disabilities from privately and independently obtaining potentially life-saving COVID-19 vaccines. We will continue to work for the ADA’s promise of equal access. during the ongoing global pandemic.”

The Justice Department said it has previously entered into similar agreements with Rite Aid Corporation, Hy-Vee Inc., The Kroger Co. and Meijer Inc.

This story was reported from Los Angeles.