Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

With influenzacases onthe rise inNew York City,the city'shealth departmentis urgingNew York statelawmakers topass a bill allowingpharmaciststo administerfluand pneumonia vaccines.

The city health department projectsthat passage of the bill could increase thenumber of city seniors who get the shotsby 50,000 or more.

"The more places flu shots are available,the more likely people are to getone," noted Jane Zucker, MD, assistantcommissioner for the health department'simmunization bureau. "Pharmaciesare a natural place to reach thoseat high risk of hospitalization and deathfrom the disease."

The pending legislation would allowpharmacists to immunize individuals 18years and older, after certifying completionof a federally approved course. Maineand West Virginia are the only otherstates where pharmacists currently cannotimmunize, although last month theWest Virginia legislature passed a billauthorizing pharmacists to administervaccines to persons 18 years of age andolder, after completing education andtraining approved by the state's board ofpharmacy.