PCAN encourages states to expand the types of vaccines that can be administered by pharmacists in order to increase access to critical, cost-effective and life-saving immunizations.
“More than 50,000 adults and 300 children die from vaccine-preventable diseases or from their complications each year in the U.S. alone – I think we can do better than that,” said Bill Mincy, Vice President of Business Development at PPSC and PCAN Chair. “Expanding immunization authority for pharmacists is a sure way to increase access to vaccines and keep our communities healthy. I encourage state legislators to take a look at current laws and consider ways to achieve this.”
Currently, all 50 states allow trained pharmacists to administer vaccinations – all qualified state pharmacists can administer the influenza vaccine and 44 states allow qualified pharmacists to administer the shingles vaccine – but pharmacists are ready and willing to do more. With a projected shortage of 45,000 primary care physicians by 2020, this is a commonsense solution that needs to be considered.
Expanding the types of vaccines that can be administered by pharmacists would provide greater access to vaccines and a greater vaccination rates among the population. Already, states that have taken steps to expand this authority for the influenza vaccine, for example, have realized a 5% increase in vaccinations rates for individuals under the age of 65. That percentage grows to 10% for senior Americans.
“Vaccines are considered to be one of the safest, most efficient and cost-effective preventative measures against certain diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” Mincy continued. “Expanding access is an important step toward improving the health and well-being of our children, our families and our communities.”
In honor of World Immunization Week, PCAN is reminding legislators that pharmacists are highly qualified, trusted health professionals who undergo extensive training and years of rigorous education to serve their patients – they are ready and willing to step up to the plate and help increase vaccination rates.