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05/19/2021

Ohio law earns NACDS praise for expanding pharmacist immunization authority

The new law authorizes pharmacists and pharmacy interns to administer COVID vaccines to individuals age 7 years old and older and order and administer COVID tests, as well as provide more opportunities for pharmacy technician trainees.
Sandra Levy
Senior Editor
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The National Association of Chain Drug Stores is applauding Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine for signing into law House Bill 6 sponsored by State Rep. Bill Roemer which provides patients with continued access to COVID-19 vaccinations, COVID-19 testing and other immunizations and expands employment options for pharmacy technician trainees.

The bill includes an emergency clause and became effective immediately upon Gov. DeWine’s signature on May 14.

“NACDS applauds Governor DeWine, State Representative Bill Roemer and the Ohio General Assembly for supporting legislation which will greatly expand Ohioans’ access to the pharmacy-based essential services they need and deserve,” said NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson. “NACDS also thanks the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants for advocating for this critical new law. By enhancing pharmacy teams’ authority for all immunizations, as well as for testing for COVID-19, Governor DeWine and state legislative leaders are leveraging pharmacies so that they may continue to meet the health and wellness needs of Ohioans.”

Specifically, the legislation expands pharmacists’ and pharmacy interns’ authority to provide COVID-19 vaccines to patients seven years of age and older, and allows pharmacists to order and administer diagnostic and antibody tests for COVID-19. Under the direct supervision of a pharmacist, pharmacy interns and certified pharmacy technicians may also administer the tests.

Additionally, the legislation authorizes pharmacists and pharmacy interns to administer to an individual 13 years of age or older an immunization for any disease without a prescription. In 2015, the Ohio legislature authorized pharmacists and pharmacy interns to administer to an individual seven years of age or older an immunization for influenza.

Of note, under continuing law, for pharmacists or pharmacy interns to be authorized to engage in the administration of immunizations, they must complete a course in the administration of immunizations, receive and maintain certification to perform basic life-support procedures and practice in accordance with physician-established protocols.

The bill also made revisions to the law that remove barriers for individuals to train as pharmacy technicians. The law allows a 17-year-old enrolled in a Board-approved career-technical education program to register with the Board of Pharmacy and extends the time frame for technicians to complete training.

In addition, it requires the State Board of Pharmacy to comply with the law known as the “Fresh Start Act” — enacted by H.B. 263 of the 133rd General Assembly — when registering a pharmacy technician trainee who (1) holds a license or is registered in another state or (2) has satisfactory work experience, government certification or private certification as a pharmacy technician trainee in another state.

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