Responds to Florida hepatitis A outbreak, Houston hurricane recovery efforts
WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health has responded to regional crises to help meet the needs of residents in Florida and Houston.
In Florida, CVS said this week it’s making the hepatitis A vaccine available to address an outbreak in the state. And in Houston, the company rescheduled its free Project Health screenings in light of the extensive damage caused by Hurricane Harvey.
CVS is urging unvaccinated Florida residents to get the hepatitis A vaccine after the Florida Department of Health reported a rise in locally acquired hepatitis A cases. MinuteClinic walk-in health clinics and many CVS Pharmacy locations in Florida now have vaccine available and can administer it patients, the company said.
According to the Florida DOH, 34 cases of hepatitis A infection have been reported in Broward County since January — compared with seven hepatitis A cases in a typical year.
CVS is offering the hepatitis A vaccine at select locations in Florida, which has 101 MinuteClinics (10 in Broward County) and 876 CVS Pharmacy stores (76 in Broward County). The company recommends that patients contact their local pharmacy to confirm availability.
“Immunizations are an important part of preventive care and a critical way to prevent the spread of serious illness, like hepatitis A,” MinuteClinic chief medical officer Tobias Barker said in a statement. “Our MinuteClinic nurse practitioners and CVS Pharmacy pharmacists are able to provide vaccinations to Floridians who may have been exposed to the virus or who are unaware of their vaccination status. They can also help ensure that patients stay up to date on vaccinations in the future.”
At MinuteClinic, the hepatitis A vaccine can be provided to people 18 months and older, while CVS pharmacists can administer the vaccine to adults. The hepatitis A vaccination is administered in one primary dose and a second booster dose, usually six months later. CVS said vaccine supplies will be replenished at these locations as needed.
Meanwhile, in its ongoing efforts to aid in hurricane recovery efforts in Houston, CVS Pharmacy on Thursday began holding free health screenings across the city as part of its annual Project Health campaign. The program, which runs to Feb. 18, was originally scheduled to begin in September but was postponed as the community recovered from Hurricane Harvey.
At select CVS Pharmacy locations in the greater Houston area, Project Health will provide an array of free health assessments, including blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), glucose and total cholesterol screenings, which can help detect risk for chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.
“Even as the residents of Houston have begun to recover and rebuild their lives following Hurricane Harvey, we know the impact this type of stress can place on a person’s health and wellness,” stated Jeff Schmidt, area vice president for CVS Pharmacy. “Our free health screenings can help identify health concerns or other risk factors for participants who may not have access to care otherwise, as well as provide referrals to local doctors and information on low-cost health insurance options.”
After being screened, patients have access to on-site consultations with bilingual nurse practitioners or physician assistants who will analyze results and refer patients who need additional medical care and follow-up to no-cost or low-cost medical facilities nearby or to their primary care physician. This year, CVS has partnered with the YMCA in Houston to encourage their members to participate in Project Health screenings.