Pa. pharmacists authorized to give flu shots to children

July 7, 2015

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf recently signed legislation that allows children as young as nine to receive flu vaccinations at local pharmacies.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf recently signed legislation that allows children as young as nine to receive flu vaccinations at local pharmacies. Previously, Pennsylvania law only authorized physicians to give flu shots to school-age children.

"This is all about opening up access," Rep. Seth Grove (R-York), one of bill’s sponsors, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Parents and individuals are always around pharmacies, whether that be at grocery stores or [other locations]. Hopefully, now, we will see a nice uptick in immunization."

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The bill was designed to increase vaccination rates and reduce cases of the flu. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 40% of Pennsylvania children were not vaccinated against the flu during the 2013-2014 flu season.

"With Pennsylvania's low immunization rates, you can either increase access points or do mandates," Grove said. "We're attacking opening access."

Nearly 40 states have passed laws authorizing pharmacists to administer vaccinations to children. In Pennsylvania, children will still need to have parental permission to receive the vaccinations.

“Pennsylvania’s more than 6,600 certified pharmacist immunizers have been safely providing immunizations to adults for over 10 years,” Grove said. “We need to do what we can to increase convenience for parents, in order to keep children across the Commonwealth healthy.”

The State Board of Pharmacy supported the law, which will go into effect in 60 days.