Public/Global Health

DOJ settlement makes Rite Aid vaccine registration more accessible

Rite Aid will make scheduling vaccines through its website more accessible to people with disabilities after reaching a settlement with the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Rite Aid will ensure content about the COVID-19 vaccine and its platforms for scheduling vaccinations are in accordance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which are meant to make websites user-friendly for people with disabilities, court documents said. 

The DOJ statement on the settlement said the pharmacy’s previous website was particularly problematic for blind people and people with difficulty using a mouse. 

“For instance, the calendar on Rite Aid’s website used for scheduling vaccine appointments did not show screen reader users any available appointment times, and people who use the tab key instead of a mouse could not make a choice on a consent form that they needed to fill out before scheduling their appointment,” it said. 

In addition to addressing these issues, Rite Aid will regularly test its site for any additional issues that make vaccine scheduling inaccessible and fix the problems promptly, according to the announcement from the DOJ and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

“As the nation continues its response to the COVID-19 pandemic — through booster shots, vaccinations for children under 12, and ongoing outreach to those still in need of initial doses — people with disabilities must be able to schedule potentially lifesaving vaccine appointments as easily as people without disabilities can,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, who works in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said in a statement. 

The Hill has reached out to Rite Aid for comment.

Kaiser Health News investigation in February reported that many websites containing information about COVID-19 vaccines and the virus in general violated disability rights laws, especially because of barriers for blind people signing up for vaccines.

Last month, the DOJ reached agreements with local and state government entities in New York to ensure that COVID-19 vaccination websites were made more accessible to people with visual disabilities. 

Tags COVID vaccine Disability rights Justice Department Kristen Clarke Rite Aid

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