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We're here to support you through COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve rapidly. Check back regularly for updates on how we can help you stay well.

Our CVS Pharmacy locations have been updated for your health and safety.

  • Disinfectant wipe stations to wipe down your cart or basket
  • Signage and floor markers to help you maintain a safe physical distance of 6 feet while in store
  • Face coverings are required in our stores per CDC guidance*
  • Regular cleaning of hard surfaces and frequently handled items
  • New protective panels at checkout and pharmacy counters
  • Fewer signatures required on our PIN pads

Keep informed to stay on your path toward health.

For the latest COVID-19 guidelines and COVID-19 vaccine progress, visit these Centers for Disease Control and Prevention webpages.

Frequently asked questions about COVID-19

Updated January 11, 2021

About the COVID-19 vaccine

Is a COVID-19 vaccine approved yet?

The FDA has rigorous scientific and regulatory processes in place to facilitate development and ensure the safety, effectiveness and quality of COVID-19 vaccines. The FDA has issued Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) for COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech and by Moderna. An EUA gives the FDA authority to allow unapproved medical products to be used in emergencies when no approved alternatives are available. Other COVID-19 vaccines are in development and will be reviewed by the FDA under EUA. The current status of the vaccine EUAs can be found here.

How would a COVID-19 vaccine work?

As with any vaccine, the goal of a COVID-19 vaccine is to expose the body to an antigen that won't cause disease but will provoke an immune response that can block or kill the virus if a person becomes infected. Vaccines contain either the whole virus or a component. After receiving a vaccine, a person develops immunity to that disease without having to get the disease. The immunity varies based on the type of vaccine you receive. Some vaccines last a year (like the flu vaccine) and others last longer (like the polio vaccine). Current science suggests that the COVID-19 vaccine will be more like the flu vaccine in requiring annual dosing, but research will be required to fully answer this question.

How will CVS Health® manage the administration of vaccines to essential workers? Is CVS Health working on a process to aid employers of essential workers on this?

CVS Health is mobilizing to provide vaccine access for all Americans, consistent with federal and state prioritization guidelines. States are actively working to finalize their prioritization guidance for critical infrastructure workers. We anticipate the vaccination of these workers will begin early in 2021 in many states, subsequent to vaccination efforts for front line health care workers and long-term care facilities. CVS Health is well positioned to support the vaccination of critical infrastructure workers. We are in active discussions with authorities about supporting these efforts, and will communicate further specifics as they become available.

What are the different technologies being used to develop a COVID-19 vaccine?

Manufacturers are taking different approaches toward developing a COVID-19 vaccine including using portions of the virus, genetic material or other vectors.

Traditional technology A traditional vaccine technology is to use protein sub-units that can be injected into cells to stimulate a response. Such vaccines usually need adjuvants — or immune-stimulating molecules — delivered in conjunction with the vaccine and may also require multiple doses. Some of the candidates in development using this technique are from Novavax and Sanofi/GSK.

Novel technologies Viral vector vaccines use another virus that has been engineered to express the S protein to generate an immune response. Some of the candidates in development using this category are from AstraZeneca/Oxford, Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Vaxart.

Nucleic acid vaccines deliver genetic material into the cell. The genetic material is then translated into a protein — usually the S protein. However, this method — and the way the genetic material (RNA or DNA) is delivered into the cell — requires that these vaccines be stored and transported at ultracold temperatures of -20 to -70 degrees Celsius. Some candidates in development in this category are from BioNTech/Pfizer, Inovio and Moderna.

Most vaccines take years to develop. How are we able to speed up vaccine development for COVID-19?

Vaccine development is a lengthy and expensive process and can take up to 15 years. The fastest vaccine ever to be developed until now was for mumps — and that took nearly five years. Because of the cost and high failure rates, developers typically follow a linear sequence of steps, with multiple pauses for data analysis or manufacturing-process checks.

However, with this pandemic, manufacturers have been able to speed up vaccine development. Here's why:

Head startData from SARS-CoV-1 and MERS CoV vaccine development saved time, and the initial step of exploratory vaccine design was accelerated.

Government involvement The government invoked emergency authority to enable manufacturing to start alongside clinical trials. Manufacturing is usually scaled substantially after trials have concluded, but Operation Warp Speed has enabled manufacturers to de-risk and build manufacturing alongside clinical trials.

Pandemic recruitment The higher rates of infection from this virus and more trial participants have enabled manufacturers to recruit participants and demonstrate efficacy more quickly.

Cutting-edge approaches New manufacturing technologies have helped accelerate vaccine production.

What is the FDA's Emergency Use Authorization and how does the process work?

In order to help make a vaccine available as soon as possible, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would need to authorize its distribution under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). The agency has issued guidance for the criteria that will be used to evaluate any EUA application.

The FDA evaluates the following criteria when determining whether to issue an EUA:

  • Safety: Whether the chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) agent can cause a serious or life-threatening disease or condition. The known and potential benefits of the product, when used to diagnose, prevent or treat the identified serious or life-threatening disease or condition, outweigh the known and potential risks of the product.
  • Efficacy: If the product is determined to be effective in preventing infection by SARS-CoV-2.
  • There is no adequate, approved and available alternative to the product for diagnosing, preventing or treating the disease or condition.

Under the EUA, any investigational vaccines developed to prevent COVID-19 will be assessed on a case-by-case basis considering the target population, the characteristics of the product, the preclinical and human clinical study data on the product, and the totality of the available scientific evidence relevant to the product. See the final FDA guidance specific to EUA for vaccines to prevent COVID-19.

Who will get the vaccine first?

Federal and state authorities are developing guidelines to prioritize vulnerable populations in the first phase of the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. These groups include:

  • Phase 1a: health care workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities
  • Phase 1b: frontline essential workers and adults 75 years of age and older
  • Phase 1c: adults 65 to 74 years of age, individuals age 16 to 64 with high-risk medical conditions, and other essential workers

While the timeline for each of these phases is not yet known, vaccines may be available to the general population as soon as April or May.

How is "frontline essential worker" defined as a part of the vaccination prioritization?

Frontline essential workers are defined in the government's recommendations as first responders, teachers and other education workers, day care workers, food and agriculture workers, correctional facility staff, postal workers, public transit workers, and people who work in manufacturing and in grocery stores.

Will children be able to receive vaccinations?

The first COVID-19 vaccines to become available are not yet approved for use in young children. The clinical trials conducted thus far by Pfizer-BioNTech tested its vaccine's safety and efficacy in patients 16 and older. Moderna's vaccine was tested in patients 18 and older. Researchers are conducting additional studies on how the vaccines affect younger children. CVS Health is monitoring those trials and will follow the guidance provided by the CDC and FDA regarding the age of individuals eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines.

Since more than one vaccine is authorized, which vaccines will be offered?

Under the terms of our partnership with the Department of Health & Human Services, the federal and state governments will determine which vaccines our pharmacies and clinics receive. CVS Health will adhere to CDC and FDA guidance on administration of vaccines to eligible populations.

Will you be able to walk into any CVS Pharmacy location and get a vaccine, or will an appointment be required?

Federal guidelines prioritize the vaccination of certain vulnerable populations before COVID-19 vaccines are made available to the general population. Once vaccines are available at CVS Pharmacy locations, appointments will be required to receive a vaccination. Customers will be able to easily schedule their vaccinations — both the initial shot and the required second dose — at CVS.com® or through the CVS app®. Anyone requiring assistance with the scheduling tool or without access to a computer or mobile device will be encouraged to contact CVS® Customer Service.

What kind of side effects should people expect from the vaccine?

The most commonly reported side effects of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which typically lasted several days, were pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain and fever. Of note, more people experienced these side effects after the second dose than after the first dose; it is important for vaccination providers and recipients to expect that there may be some side effects after either dose, but even more so after the second dose. The most commonly reported side effects of the Moderna vaccine were similar, including injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle and joint pain, and chills.

How is CVS Health prepared to deal with possible allergic reactions to the vaccine?

CVS Health immunizers are trained in the safe administration of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use by the FDA, including identifying and treating allergic reactions. The vaccination procedures include a patient screening checklist to assess the risk of reaction. All patients are monitored for 15 minutes after administration of the injection, or longer for people with a history of severe allergic reactions. Providers at CVS Health long-term care facility COVID-19 vaccination clinics are equipped with appropriate equipment and medications, such as epinephrine and antihistamines, to assess and treat adverse reactions. Further information on COVID-19 vaccines and allergic reactions can be found here.

Why is it important to get the second dose/booster shot?

Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have two doses, with the booster shot coming a few weeks after the first. Pfizer-BioNTech's second dose comes three weeks after the first, and Moderna's comes four weeks after the first. The second dose provides a potent boost that gives people strong, long-lasting immunity. While the two leading vaccines include a second dose, some future vaccine candidates may only require one dose. Johnson & Johnson, for example, is expecting data in January that will show whether its experimental vaccine works after a single dose. In case it doesn't, the company has also started a separate trial using two doses.

Will the vaccine need to be given annually?

Current science suggests that the COVID-19 vaccine will be like the flu vaccine, requiring annual dosing, but research will be required to fully answer this question.

Will patients be charged for the vaccine?

No, patients will not be charged for the vaccine or its administration. The government will pay for the cost of the vaccine. The health care provider who administers the vaccine will be reimbursed by the patient's insurance or, in the case of uninsured patients, by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) program for uninsured patients.

What is the role of CVS Health in administering COVID-19 vaccines?

CVS Health is prepared to play a prominent role in administering COVID-19 vaccinations to health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities, as well as to the general public, once the vaccine is available for general distribution, through a partnership with CDC as one of the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Providers. CVS Health also stands ready to provide additional assistance to states in their state-run vaccination programs.

COVID Vaccine CDC Provider Agreement Contract FAQs

How is CVS Health working with the CDC to make the COVID-19 vaccine available?

CVS Health has entered into a contract with HHS to be one of the official COVID-19 Vaccination Program Providers. As a result, once a COVID-19 vaccine is authorized by the FDA and available to pharmacies, the federal government will make a supply of the publicly funded vaccine available to CVS Health for administration in accordance with prescribed prioritization guidelines.

Who is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination under this contract?

Under this contract, CVS Health will receive a supply of the publicly funded COVID-19 vaccine and necessary supplies for administration once the vaccine is authorized and available. This supply of vaccine will be used to provide vaccinations to patients consistent with the priorities for vaccination established by the government.

When will CVS Pharmacy® begin offering the COVID-19 vaccine?

Once a COVID-19 vaccine (or vaccines) is available to CVS Health, CVS Health will work rapidly to make vaccinations available for administration in accordance with prescribed prioritization guidelines.

Which vaccines will be offered? Will there be more than one type?

The type of vaccine made available to CVS will be determined by the government's allocation methodology.

Where will the vaccine be available under this contract?

The agreement allows for the distribution of the vaccine at CVS Pharmacy retail locations.

What processes are in place to manage and ensure appropriate booster shot administration (depending on the authorized vaccine)?

Patients will be required to make an appointment for their initial shot online or through the CVS Pharmacy app. Patients scheduling a first dose of a vaccine will be prompted to schedule an appointment for their booster dose at the same time. The scheduling system will automatically prompt patients to schedule the booster dose within the appropriate time frame, allowing enough time for a potential reschedule of the appointment. The patient will receive follow-up reminders to get the second dose. Upon receiving their first dose, patients will be provided with a mandated vaccine card with all pertinent vaccination information. Detailed reporting will be shared with state, local or territorial public health authorities.

In how many states will CVS Health be able to offer vaccinations?

CVS Health is prepared to provide vaccinations in all 50 states, as well as in Washington, DC and Puerto Rico.

Is getting the vaccine safe?

The CVS Health COVID-19 vaccination services will be conducted in compliance with the CDC's Guidance for Immunization Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic for safe delivery of vaccines. CVS Health will only be administering vaccines that have been approved for emergency use by the FDA.

Are other pharmacy chains also contracting with federal government?

Yes, all the major national chains and a number of regional chains are helping the federal government administer as many vaccinations as possible. Learn more about the initial list of pharmacies participating with the federal government in the administration of the vaccine.

Is getting the COVID-19 vaccine similar to getting a flu vaccine?

Yes, the process will be very similar to receiving a flu vaccine, including scheduling an appointment online at CVS.com or through the CVS Pharmacy app. CVS Health has ample experience in safely administering vaccines, including millions of flu shots every year.

How does this affect CVS's previous agreement to provide the vaccine to long-term care facilities?

CVS Health will continue to plan for the administration of on-site vaccinations to residents and staff of long-term care facilities.

About COVID-19 and our response to the pandemic

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a novel respiratory coronavirus. COVID-19 poses a serious public health risk and is highly contagious. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the situation a pandemic. Visit the CDC Traveler's Health website for travel notices and precautions.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common signs of infection include:

  • Fever (chills, sweating)
  • Cough (not related to chronic condition)
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing (not related to chronic condition)
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. Visit the CDC website for more information about symptoms.

How does it spread?

Human coronaviruses are usually spread from an infected person to others through the air by coughing and sneezing and through close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands.

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

For more information about the transmission of COVID-19, please see the CDC website.

How can you protect yourself or others from COVID-19?

Although there are currently no vaccines available to protect against human coronavirus infection, you may be able to reduce the risk of infection by washing your hands often; avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands; wearing a face mask or cloth covering that covers your nose and mouth; and avoiding close contact with people who are sick.

If you have cold-like symptoms, as a courtesy to your co-workers and others, please remain at home while you are sick.

  • Along these lines, CVS Pharmacy is waiving charges for home delivery of prescription medications. With the CDC encouraging people at higher risk for COVID-19 complications to stay at home as much as possible, this is a convenient option to avoid coming to the pharmacy for refills or new prescriptions.
  • Additionally, through Aetna, CVS Health® is offering 90 day maintenance medication prescriptions for insured and Medicare members, and is working with state governments to make the same option available to Medicaid members when allowable.
  • Aetna is also waiving early refill limits on 30 day prescription maintenance medications for all members with pharmacy benefits administered through CVS Caremark®.

If you share a workstation or equipment with others, please wipe it down with disinfectant wipes after use. Surfaces in any area occupied by an individual who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 should be washed with 70 percent ethyl alcohol or chlorine solution. For information about disinfecting your workstation, equipment or home, visit the CDC's Clean and Disinfect website.

Many cities, counties, states and countries have issued “stay at home” or “physical distancing” orders. To help protect yourself and others from the spread of COVID-19, it is important to follow these orders and limit the amount of time spent outside the home and around other people.

What should you do if you suspect you have or someone else has contracted COVID-19?

Most people with common human coronavirus illness will recover on their own. However, it is important to treat symptoms and limit the chances of infecting others. If you suspect you may have COVID-19, stay at home and reach out to a local health care provider.

Although there are no specific treatments for illnesses caused by human coronaviruses, you can take the following actions to help relieve symptoms if you are mildly sick:

  • Take pain and fever medications. Ask your pharmacist how they may interact with any medications you currently take. Caution: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend not giving aspirin to children
  • Use a room humidifier or take a hot shower to help ease a sore throat and cough.
  • Drink plenty of liquids.
  • Stay home and rest
  • Self-quarantine to minimize the spread of the human coronavirus
  • Contact your health care professional and ask about testing

Monitor your symptoms and reach out to a health care provider immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

What is Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)?

Doctors around the world have noted a severe inflammatory response that appears to be related to infections of COVID-19 in children. The multisystem inflammatory response presents with Kawasaki-like symptoms, including persistent fever, low blood pressure, abdominal pain, rash and elevated inflammatory markers. Children generally make a full recovery, though MIS-C has been fatal in some cases, indicating that the pediatric risk of COVID-19 is higher than initially presumed. Doctors are still learning about the syndrome, its diagnosis and its treatment. For more information, please see the CDC MIS-C website.

What is the current CVS Health guidance about wearing a face covering in our stores and at other CVS Health sites?

Face coverings are required of all customers, patients and colleagues at our stores and locations to help promote health and safety.

CDC guidance states that face masks and face coverings may slow the spread of the coronavirus by individuals who may have the virus but do not know it and may be helpful for those already infected with COVID-19 if they are in close contact with others. The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings when physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

Adults and children over 2 years of age are asked to wear face coverings at our locations. Children under 2 years of age and people with medical conditions or disabilities who may be adversely affected by a face covering do not need to wear one.

In an effort to keep our colleagues and customers safe from COVID-19 infection, we require all CVS Health employees to wear either company-issued face masks or cloth face coverings while working at a CVS Health site, including CVS Pharmacy locations and testing locations. Colleagues who choose not to wear company-provided face masks must wear cloth face coverings that meet CDC guidelines and are suitable for the workplace.

We also require all CVS vendors and suppliers, and their associated employees, contractors and agents, to follow all relevant COVID-19 guidelines issued by the CDC. These guidelines include but are not limited to:

  • Wearing a face mask/cloth face covering
  • Maintaining physical distancing and personal hygiene (frequent hand washing or use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer)
  • Frequently sanitizing any shared surfaces, equipment or technology, including keys, touchpads and styluses
  • Ensuring employees stay home if they show any symptoms of illness

Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items at low cost can be used as a public health measure. Please remember, however, that there is no substitute for proper physical distancing measures and frequent and thorough hand washing.

What is CVS Health doing to ensure its locations employ cleaning best practices to minimize exposure risk?

CVS Health follows CDC general cleaning guidance, which includes frequently cleaning all commonly touched surfaces, using disposable wipes to disinfect these surfaces, and using personal protective equipment while cleaning, including wearing nitrile gloves and safety goggles/glasses when using bleach/water solutions. This applies to all locations, including our stores.

What cleaning practices does CVS Health undertake when there is a confirmed case or an exposure situation?

A deep cleaning will be performed, which consists of wiping down all horizontal and high-contact touch points using Shockwave disinfectant cleaner and SteraMist spray.

What is MinuteClinic doing to protect patients from COVID-19?

In order to support efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, and in line with CDC and State Health Department guidance for infection control and prevention, MinuteClinic is making the following temporary changes to help keep our patients, customers and colleagues safe during this time:

  • You will also be asked to wear a mask throughout your visit, which we can provide, if you do not have one of your own.
  • You will be asked some questions to determine your risk for COVID-19. If your symptoms or exposure history suggest you may be at risk, we will share information about how to find the most convenient location for COVID-19 testing.
  • We're adding steps to further clean and disinfect the kiosk and the clinic between visits, and ensuring our providers have the appropriate PPE, including gloves, masks and protective eyewear.

What should patients do if they suspect they may have COVID-19?

People with symptoms of a respiratory illness, including a high fever, cough and shortness of breath, or who have been in close contact with someone who meets these criteria, should not schedule a visit at MinuteClinic. These patients should consult with their primary care provider or local health department about testing, or visit one of CVS Health's more than 4,300 testing sites.

If someone suspects they may have COVID-19, telemedicine services can be an effective option for screening. Telemedicine and virtual care services enable patients to talk with a health care provider and have a basic screening to determine their risk for COVID-19, without having to leave home. MinuteClinic offers two telemedicine options including E-Clinic visits and MinuteClinic Video Visits. For more details, visit MinuteClinic.com.

If a patient develops emergency warning signs for COVID-19 they should seek out medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include*:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all inclusive.

What happens if a patient comes to MinuteClinic and might have COVID-19?

Our goal is to provide safe, high-quality care and to ensure our patients and providers are protected. You will be asked some questions to determine your risk for COVID-19. If your symptoms or exposure history suggest you may be at risk, we will share information about how to find the most convenient location for COVID-19 testing, including at our more than 4,500 testing locations across the country.

If you have a suspected case of COVID-19 in the clinic, how will you help keep the store and clinic safe for other customers?

Our goal is to provide safe, high-quality care and to help protect our patients and providers. In alignment with CDC and CMS recommendations, and in the interest of keeping our providers, store colleagues and patients safe during this time, MinuteClinic has developed a temporary COVID-19 waiting room protocol. The purpose of this protocol is to further enhance our infection control procedures for patients prior to them being seen in the clinic.

If one of our providers does see a patient who meets the criteria for COVID-19 risk, we take the appropriate precautions to protect our providers, other patients and customers. During the exam the provider will wear protective gear (e.g., appropriate masks, gloves, gown and goggles) and will provide the patient with a mask.

After the visit, the provider will disinfect the clinic exam room following CDC health care precautions for communicable infections, which includes the thorough disinfection of all clinic surfaces (including the sign-in kiosk). The provider may also close the disinfected clinic for a two-hour period if needed and move to another room in the clinic to continue patient care.

Near the sign-in kiosk, we have masks available, as well as signage to encourage patients who are displaying lower-respiratory symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) to don masks while they wait for their appointment in their personal vehicle. We also have hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes available near the sign-in kiosk and encourage patient use.

Why can't patients make appointments at their closest MinuteClinic anymore?

During this time when access to routine health care continues to be disrupted, MinuteClinic remains focused on our goal to provide patients with access to affordable, high-quality routine health care in a safe environment.

Currently, as part of our Pandemic response, there may be limited availability for scheduling a MinuteClinic visit in advance at certain locations, but our clinics continue to be open for walk-in patients with non-COVID-19 related health care needs. We encourage patients to check on-line at MinuteClinic.com to determine approximate wait time at their closest clinic and determine if advance appointments are available.

Can a patient have a COVID-19 test during a MinuteClinic visit (either appointment or walk-in)?

Patients who are experiencing COVID-like symptoms or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus and are seeking out a test, must schedule an appointment in advance at CVS.com.

Patients are not able to schedule a COVID-19 test using the clinic locator at MinuteClinic.com.

How do you prevent COVID-19 patients from just walking in for a clinic visit?

Currently, as part of our Pandemic response, there may be limited availability for scheduling a MinuteClinic visit in advance at certain locations. Our clinics continue to be open for walk-in patients with non-COVID-19 related health care needs once they have been pre-screened, and in accordance with state mandates.

After a patient registers at the sign-on kiosk for a MinuteClinic visit, the provider will reach out to them over the phone with a series of screening questions to determine their risk for COVID-19. If the responses suggest the patient may be at risk, they are instructed to seek out COVID-19 testing. If a patient passes the screener they are invited into the clinic for the visit. Patients are asked to wear a face covering during their visit and a face covering can be provided if needed.

Is there an out of pocket cost for the rapid-result COVID-19 testing?

Rapid-result testing for COVID-19 is available at no cost to eligible patients either with insurance or through the federal government's program for uninsured patients.

If a patient takes a COVID-19 rapid-result test, is negative and has a MinuteClinic visit after getting their test results, will there be an out of pocket cost for the MinuteClinic visit?

Under the CARES Act, patients should not have out-of-pocket costs for follow-up care at MinuteClinic conducted on the same day as a COVID-19 test and directly related to COVID-like symptoms. Care provided for other health concerns, not related to COVID-like symptoms, may be subject to patient cost share, based on their health insurance plan and coverage. Patients should contact their insurance company for questions regarding coverage.

Does MinuteClinic® offer telemedicine services?

Yes. MinuteClinic offers two telemedicine options including E-Clinic visits and MinuteClinic Video Visits. For more details, visit MinuteClinic.com.

Does MinuteClinic offer behavioral health services either through Video Visits or e-Clinic visits?

No, not at this time. MinuteClinic supports acute and chronic conditions, but not behavioral health.

General COVID-19 testing questions

Who should be tested for COVID-19?

The CDC recommends those with symptoms of COVID-19 who have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or who lives in or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19 should contact their health care provider and be tested. The CDC overview of testing is intended to provide guidance and updates occasionally.

The CDC suggests giving the following patients high priority for testing:

  • Hospitalized patients with symptoms
  • Health care facility workers, workers in congregate living settings and first responders with symptoms
  • Residents in long-term care facilities or other congregate living settings, including prisons and shelters, with symptoms

The CDC suggests prioritizing the following patients for testing:

  • Persons with symptoms of potential COVID-19 infection, including fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, new loss of taste or smell, vomiting, diarrhea and/or sore throat
  • Persons without symptoms who are prioritized by health departments or clinicians, for any reason, including but not limited to public health monitoring, sentinel surveillance or screening of other individuals without symptoms according to state and local plans

The CDC suggests testing individuals without symptoms:

  • Persons with known or suspected exposure to COVID-19
  • All babies born to women with COVID-19 regardless of signs of infections
  • Persons without known or suspected exposure to COVID-19 in settings that house vulnerable populations in close quarters for extended periods of time and/or settings where critical infrastructure workers could be disproportionately affected

How can I access COVID-19 testing?

Patients who have concerns that they may have been exposed to COVID-19 or may have symptoms of COVID-19 should contact their health care provider to determine the need for a test. The test will likely consist of a nasal or pharyngeal swab that is then sent to a laboratory. Results may be available on site depending on the type of test. Please visit the COVID-19 testing site for more information.

I asked for a COVID-19 test but my doctor said I don't need one. What are my options?

Your doctor is in the best position to advise if testing is needed based on your symptoms. With tests in limited supply, providers are using a strict set of guidelines to determine when testing is appropriate.

If your symptoms change, contact your doctor again.

Why are you no longer offering testing at the large-scale rapid-result sites?

As we have greatly expanded our testing capacity through an efficient and accessible network of store-based drive-thru testing sites, we have ceased operations at our five large-scale rapid-result testing sites, effective Saturday, June 27.

CVS Health is currently operating more than 4,500 COVID-19 testing sites across the country at select CVS Pharmacy locations and is partnering with community organizations, long-term care facilities, employers and universities to expand testing for additional populations.

COVID-19 testing at CVS Pharmacy locations

How is CVS Health supporting testing efforts in local communities?

CVS Health is uniquely positioned to play a vital role in supporting local communities and the overall health care system in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. Our ability to coordinate the availability of COVID-19 testing bolsters states' efforts to manage the spread of the virus.

In March, CVS Health opened a pilot drive-thru COVID-19 test site in a parking lot at a CVS Pharmacy store in Shrewsbury, MA in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This pilot helped inform the company's ability to improve upon and maximize drive-thru testing for patients.

In April, CVS Health worked with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and state governments in Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan and Rhode Island to help increase access to rapid-result COVID-19 testing at large-scale sites in publicly accessible areas, which were available through June 30. Rapid-result testing sites in underserved communities are anticipated to be open for testing through December 31.

Now CVS Health has expanded access to drive-thru COVID-19 testing and has established testing sites at more than than 4,500 locations across the country. Specimen samples from these drive-thru locations are sent to an independent, third-party lab. Results may take 2 to 3 days, or longer in some instances or in times of peak demand, and are viewable on the patient's MyChart account.* MyChart is a medical records software program that many health care professionals, including MinuteClinic® providers, use. It is free for the patient.

The drive-thru testing patient will receive an email with a link to view test results through their secure MyChart account.

How many COVID-19 testing locations will open up and where are they?

CVS Health created more than 4,500 store locations across the United States offering COVID-19 testing.

Go to the COVID-19 testing page to see locations and details.

Why are you expanding further?

Our pharmacies and MinuteClinic clinics are uniquely positioned to help address the pandemic and protect people's health. Building on the company's comprehensive efforts to help slow the spread of the virus, we can bring safe and effective testing options closer to home and help increase access to testing options for even more individuals. This allows us to continue to help slow the spread of the virus.

Will no-cost COVID-19 testing be available at all CVS Pharmacy locations? How are you selecting the CVS Pharmacy locations?

Testing will not be available at all CVS Pharmacy locations. These COVID-19 tests will not take place inside any retail locations, and CVS Pharmacy, HealthHUB and MinuteClinic will continue to serve customers and patients.

CVS Health currently has more than 4,500 testing locations across the country. Through this effort we are hoping to provide access in areas of the country that need additional testing and are selecting CVS Pharmacy locations with this criterion in mind.

How many COVID-19 tests will you be able to do per day at each site?

Based on the availability of supplies and lab capacity, each site can conduct between 20 and 50 tests per day.

How much does it cost to get a test? Is the test covered by insurance?

We accept insurance at the test sites. However, under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act approved by Congress, patients should not have any out-of-pocket costs with their insurance. Uninsured patients will be covered under a program funded by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Do people still need to make an appointment online to get a test?

Yes, patients need to make an appointment in advance online at CVS.com. Patients need to preregister, provide their insurance information as appropriate and verify their eligibility for testing. Once they have registered, the patient is provided with an appointment window for that same day or up to two days out.

Which criteria are you using to determine who can get a test?

COVID-19 testing will be available to eligible individuals meeting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria, in addition to age guidelines. A physician's referral is not required.

Is testing available for health care workers and first responders?

Yes, first responders and health care workers are able to sign up if they believe they have been exposed through their work, if they have no symptoms but have a physician's referral, or if they are symptomatic.

What is the process when people arrive at the store for testing?

Patients are required to stay in their cars throughout the process. When a patient arrives at the store they will see clear signage directing them toward the pharmacy drive-thru window.

Once the patient arrives at the drive-thru window, a CVS Pharmacy team member will verify their appointment and identity and provide them with a test kit and instructions on how to properly perform a self-swab. The patient will also receive a packet of information on next steps to follow when the test results are available to them in a few days. The CVS Pharmacy team member will observe the self-swab process to ensure it is done properly. Once the patient has completed the self-swab, the patient will deposit the sample in a specifically designated and secure container outside the store.

Patient samples are then sent off-site to independent, third-party labs that are responsible for processing and delivering the results, which we then communicate to patients and are viewable through MyChart (see next question for more MyChart information).*

In select locations where there is no CVS Pharmacy drive-thru window, individuals with appointments will be directed to a location in the parking lot. They will be met by a CVS Pharmacy team member who will provide instructions and next steps.

The overall testing process is supervised and managed by a local MinuteClinic provider.

What type of test is performed?

MinuteClinic uses two types of COVID-19 testing to check for active infection. Rapid-result testing locations perform antigen testing, which returns results the same day. Lab testing locations perform polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, which returns results within 2 to 3 days. If you are getting your testing for a specific purpose such as travel, please ensure you are selecting the proper test required by your airline, destination or other requiring organization. Certain travel destinations and airlines do not accept rapid-result testing.

We do not administer antibody tests, which indicate whether the patient has been infected in the past.

How and when will I get results?

Results for rapid testing are generally returned on the same day of specimen collection (rapid testing locations are limited). For samples sent to our lab partners, average turnaround time for receiving results is 2 to 3 days.

When results are ready, an email is sent to notify the patient to view results through the patient's secure MyChart account* MyChart is a medical records software program that many health care professionals, including MinuteClinic providers, use. It is free for the patient and accessible as a convenient smartphone app.

No-cost COVID-19 testing in your community

What is CVS Health doing to increase testing access for underserved communities?

More than half of CVS Health's testing sites are located in counties that serve moderate- to high-needs communities, as measured by the CDC's Social Vulnerability Index. The index tracks a variety of census variables, including poverty, lack of access to transportation, and crowded housing, that may weaken a community's ability to prepare for and recover from hazardous events like natural disasters and disease outbreaks.

Underserved and multicultural communities are being disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. To help address this issue, CVS Health has partnered with national organizations such as the National Medical Association; local community groups, including free and charitable clinics and community colleges; state governments; and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to expand community-based testing in underserved areas in more than 10 cities.

These community-based test sites are located at the facilities of our partner organizations, enabling us to tap into their networks to expand testing in areas of greatest need and reach people who may not otherwise have easy access to testing. These testing sites are designed to help reduce barriers that may limit access to testing for local residents. For example:

  • Appointments are made by phone, so lack of internet access is not a barrier.
  • Each site can accommodate walk-up testing, so access to a vehicle is not required.
  • Signage is offered in English and Spanish.
  • Testing is available to patients at no cost.

Learn more about no-cost COVID-19 testing in the community

Can you give us the operational details of these community testing sites?

We currently have community-based testing locations in select states and are exploring additional opportunities with our partners to expand this testing into more areas of need.

Visit our no-cost COVID-19 testing page for location details, contact numbers and hours of operation.

How does the testing process work at these community sites?

Our community-based sites offer rapid-result COVID-19 testing to eligible individuals who meet criteria established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in addition to age guidelines. A doctor's referral is not required. Patients will need to call the location in advance in order to schedule a same-day time slot for testing.

A vehicle is not required because testing can be accommodated in person and results will be provided on the spot. When the patient arrives at the testing site for their appointment, the nurse will collect a sample of nasal secretions using a nasal swab. The patient will then be directed to a waiting area to await the test results.

Will you be using the Abbott test?

The sample will be processed using the Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 test, which will deliver positive results in as little as five minutes and negative results in as little as 13 minutes. Once the test result is available, a health care professional will locate the patient to give them the test results. This will enable patients to receive results on-site along with a treatment plan and direction on appropriate actions to take related to quarantine and exposure tracing.

How long will the process take per patient? How long will it take to get the results?

The process will take approximately 30 minutes from the collection of the swab to the delivery of the results.

Can anyone get a test?

To be eligible for testing, patients will need to meet criteria established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in addition to age guidelines. Patients will need to preregister by calling the phone number for the specific site at which they wish to make an appointment.

Visit our no-cost COVID-19 testing page for location details, contact numbers and hours of operation.

How are patients notified if their appointments are canceled?

When an appointment is canceled because a site is closed unexpectedly, patients with scheduled appointments will receive a phone call to inform them about the cancellation and help them to reschedule.

Since you opened more than 4,500 testing sites at select CVS Pharmacy locations , why do you need these community sites?

CVS Health is uniquely positioned to play a vital role in helping support both local communities and the overall health care system in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Working with our community partners is an important part of our comprehensive strategy to increase access to COVID-19 testing. This joint effort allows us to tap into the network of a trusted organization with strong community ties to further expand testing in areas of greatest need.

All of our community-based testing sites can accommodate walk-up testing, so access to a vehicle is not required. Appointments are made by phone so patients also do not need internet access to schedule an appointment. Testing is available to patients at no cost.

Where can I get more information?

You can find more information on COVID-19 at these links:

*FOR COVID-19 VACCINATIONS: Vaccinations will be made available to the public consistent with the prioritization schedule.

*FOR FREE RX DELIVERY OFFER: Free 1 to 2 day Rx delivery applies to orders through April 30, 2021. Delivery is available for eligible prescription drug orders with qualifying prescription benefit programs and insurance plans. Order cutoff times may vary by delivery option and pharmacy location. 1 to 2 day delivery only available on orders placed Monday through Thursday. Delivery may be subject to delays. Not all delivery options are available to every address or from all pharmacy locations (CVS Pharmacy®, CVS Pharmacy at Target, CarePlus CVS Pharmacy® and Navarro® locations). Delivery fees apply and may vary by delivery option and location. Delivery of select nonprescription items is available with prescription delivery at participating locations. Nonprescription items are not available for delivery from CVS Pharmacy at Target locations. Selection of nonprescription items available may vary for online and in-store orders. Nonprescription items are charged at online prices, which may vary from store prices. Coupons, ExtraBucks® Rewards or in-store promotions with delivery may not be used with delivery orders. Online promotions cannot be used nor ExtraBucks Rewards earned with orders called into stores. Advance payment by credit, debit or FSA/HSA card required. In most cases, FSA/HSA cards may not be used for delivery fees. Other restrictions apply. Get details

*FOR COVID-19 TESTING: Testing requires preregistration, is only available based on specified screening criteria, and is conducted by MinuteClinic. COVID-19 testing at select CVS Pharmacy® locations is no cost with most insurance plans or through a federal program for the uninsured. COVID-19 testing does not eliminate the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 or coronavirus disease 2019. Available testing procedures may produce false negative or false positive results due to a variety of factors.

*FOR DRIVE-THRU TESTING RESULTS: Lab samples are sent to an off-site laboratory and results may take 2 to 3 days or even longer in some instances or in times of peak demand. Based on the off-site lab's volume your response time may vary

*FOR TELEHEALTH: Video Visit and E-Clinic Visits are available in select states. To receive these services, you will be connected to a trusted third-party provider.

*FOR FACE COVERINGS IN STORE: Children under 2 years of age and people with medical conditions or disabilities who may be adversely affected by a face covering do not need to wear one.

*FOR FLU SHOTS: CVS Health is the retail drug leader in flu and expanded immunization. For the 2020 to 2021 season, CVS Health is projected to administer twenty million flu shots.

*FOR LOGISTICS OF COLD CHAIN SHIPPING: HHS Press Office. Trump Administration Partners with Chain and Independent Community Pharmacies to Increase Access to Future COVID-19 Vaccines. HHS.gov. November 12, 2020. Available at: https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2020/11/12/trump-administration-partners-chain-independent-community-pharmacies-increase-access-future-covid-19-vaccines.html. Accessed December 3, 2020.

*FOR CMS GUIDANCE: Toolkit on COVID-19 Vaccine: Health Insurance Issuers and Medicare Advantage Plans. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. cms.gov. Updated November 5, 2020. Available at: https://www.cms.gov/files/document/COVID-19-toolkit-issuers-MA-plans.pdf. Accessed December 3, 2020.

*FOR VACCINE REIMBURSEMENT: Under section 6008(b)(4) of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), to receive the temporary federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) increase, a state or territory must cover COVID-19 testing services and treatments, including vaccines and their administration, specialized equipment and therapies for Medicaid enrollees without cost sharing. We are not aware of any states or territories not currently claiming this temporary FMAP increase, and CMS has stated that it is not aware of any states or territories that intend to cease claiming it. Accordingly, Medicaid coverage of COVID-19 vaccines and their administration without cost sharing is expected to be available for most Medicaid beneficiaries.