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Doctors support Pa. bill to expand pharmacist-administered vaccinations

Bill would allow pharmacists to give vaccines to schoolchildren

HARRISBURG, Pa. — "Numerous" physicians in Pennsylvania are supporting a bill that would expand the range of immunizations that pharmacists can provide, a state pharmacy group said Thursday.

The Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association said doctors around the state were urging legislators to support House Bill 776 in letters to the House Professional Licensure Committee, urging that members support the bill and vote it out of committee soon. The bill would expand the immunizations pharmacists can provide to children older than 7 years.

"We believe collaboration among physicians and pharmacists is key to improving vaccination rates in Pennsylvania," one letter read. "Using pharmacists as immunizers is a convenient and easy way to boost rates for not only the flu vaccine, but to also make needed school vaccines more accessible."

The pharmacists association said expanding the types of vaccines that pharmacists can administer would provide greater access to them and higher vaccination rates. Many of the 2,500 pharmacists available are in medically underserved areas and areas with shortages of health providers, making them the most accessible and affordable provider available.

"Pennsylvania currently ranks 16th in the nation in terms of vaccinating our children against preventable illnesses and diseases — there is definitely room for improvement there," Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association president Robert Frankil said. "We are very pleased to be working with Pennsylvania physicians to support legislation that would enable us to make progress in this area and help keep our state healthy. We encourage legislators to support this piece of legislation."

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