The North Carolina legislature is considering a new bill that would give pharmacists greater immunization responsibilities across the state.
While pharmacists in North Carolina are currently allowed to administer influenza vaccine to anyone 14 or older, the new bill would expand their capabilities and allow pharmacists to administer a more robust list of vaccines including administering the vaccinations recommended by the CDC to those adults age 18 and older.
Pharmacists would be given the ability to administer pneumococcal vaccines; herpes zoster vaccines; hepatitis B vaccine; meningococcal vaccines, human papillomavirus vaccine, hepatitis A vaccine, and tetanus vaccines, according to the proposed bill.
It would also lower the patient age for pharmacists to administer the influenza vaccine from 14 to 10. Pharmacists would also be able to administer flu vaccine to those as young as six years old with a prescription order.
Pharmacists in the state have voiced support for the proposed bill.
“Personally, I think it’s a great idea,” Raymond James, PharmD, of Person Street Pharmacy in Raleigh, told local station WNCN.
Pharmacist Maresa Roney, PharmD, also with Person Street Pharmacy, supports the possible change as well and tells the station tht pharmacists are uniquely positioned to assume the expanded role because of the strong bond they already have with patients.
“You know we take the time with our patients, so I think that goes a long way with trust and immunization,” she said.
Patients already come into the pharmacy with questions about vaccines they have seen in the media, she said, and pharmacists are able to address any concerns about the risks or benefits of a vaccine and provide them with the information to make an educated decision, Roney says.
The move would also benefit patients, who would have a more convenient location to address their immunization needs.
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“I would actually come to my local pharmacy,” customer Mallory Richardson tells WNCN. “A lot of relationships are built long term between families and local pharmacists, so instead of waiting for an appointment, I’d love to be serviced right in my local community.”
Under the proposed bill, if passed, the changes would go into effect this October.