Pharmacists Could Soon Offer Child Flu Shots in Pennsylvania

June 8, 2015
Ryan Marotta, Assistant Editor

Pharmacists in Pennsylvania are one step closer to administering flu shots to children, thanks to legislation passed by state lawmakers.

Pharmacists in Pennsylvania are one step closer to administering flu shots to children, thanks to legislation passed by state lawmakers.

In a unanimous decision, Pennsylvania senators voted to approve Senate Bill 305 (SB 305), which would permit pharmacists to vaccinate against influenza in children aged 9 years and older with parental permission.

As an amendment to the state’s 1961 Pharmacy Act, SB305 would also allow pharmacy interns who have completed appropriate training to administer the flu vaccine to patients under the supervision of a pharmacist.

Nearly identical legislation was previously passed in the state House of Representatives on April 13, 2015. Both bills owe their existence partially to the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association (PPA), which lobbied for their inception since last year’s session of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, according to PPA CEO Patricia A. Epple.

“We started the process rolling last session by seeking out sponsors for the bills, and we were very fortunate that the wife of the eventual House sponsor was a pharmacist herself,” Epple told Pharmacy Times in an exclusive interview. “Overall, there has been great support for the bills from both sides of the aisle.”

Epple added that the bills would provide pharmacists with a great opportunity to improve patient health in their communities.

“We have been hearing from many pharmacist that families will come in wanting to get whole family immunized, only to find that the pharmacist are unable to immunize children,” she explained. “I think that allowing pharmacists to be so will ultimately be very convenient for these patients and families. Pharmacies will also see a benefit in not being forced to turn patients away.”

Both SB305 and House Bill 182 (HB182) will now move to the opposite chamber of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. If one of the bills is passed in its second chamber, it will then be sent to Governor Tom Wolf to be signed into law or vetoed.

If signed into law, SB305 would give parents an additional safe and convenient option to ensure their children’s healthy, stated bill sponsor Senator Tom McGarrigle in a press release.