Vaccinations Show Expansion of Pharmacy’s Scope

Maine and Georgia will forever be remembered as “finish lines” in key races for pharmacy’s future.

Government leaders cite pharmacy’s proven track record in vaccinations as a key reason that they support additional steps to advance pharmacy patient care.

Nearly six years ago – in October 2009 – Maine became the 50th state to enact legislation allowing pharmacists to administer the flu vaccine.

In May of this year, Georgia became the 50th state in which legislation was enacted to allow pharmacists to administer three adult vaccines, adding pneumococcal and herpes zoster to influenza. In fact, 2015 has been a big year for the expansion of pharmacists’ vaccination authority – with Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and West Virginia joining Georgia in enacting new legislation.

Legislators and regulators at the federal and state levels often point to pharmacists’ success in promoting the importance of vaccines, and in fostering access to them. We often hear that when NACDS members and staff advocate for other expansions of pharmacy’s scope of practice, government leaders cite pharmacy’s proven track record in vaccinations as a key reason that they support additional steps to advance pharmacy patient care.

The public health community celebrates August as National Immunization Awareness Month. Given the remarkable progress in pharmacists’ vaccination authority – from the milestone in Maine to the most recent one in Georgia – this year’s observance takes on extra-special meaning. Let’s treat it as motivation for future progress as well!