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Pharmacists get more latitude to immunize in Louisiana
May 23rd, 2011
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The Louisiana State Senate has approved legislation that would expand the authority given to pharmacists to administer vaccinations.
The National Association of Chain Drug Stores on Friday applauded the measure, which it said would help prevent 14 million cases of disease and 33,000 deaths annually. The legislation is slated to be voted on as early as this week by the Louisiana House of Representatives, according to NACDS.
Louisiana State Senator Fred Mills Jr., who serves on the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, is the author of S.B. 60, which would expand pharmacists' authority to provide vaccines to Louisianans age 18 and older against pneumonia, shingles, tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis without a prescription.
"The pharmacists of Louisiana are to be commended for the final senate passage of S.B. 60, which will enable pharmacists to immunize more patients," Mills said in a statement. "As one of the most trusted professions, pharmacists provide high-quality and accessible care to patients. We are pleased with this victory and urge the House to move swiftly to also pass this legislation and send to the governor to be signed into law."
NACDS noted that an Institute of Medicine Report estimates that more than 50,000 adults and 300 children in the United States die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases or their complications.
"Enabling pharmacists to provide important vaccine services to more Americans will serve important public health goals by providing a convenient and cost-effective option for receiving the recommended vaccines and immunizations," NACDS president and chief executive officer Steven Anderson said in a statement. "Expanding immunization authority is an excellent use of pharmacists, who are highly educated health care professionals."
To sit for pharmacy board licensure exams, candidates must have a Doctor of Pharmacy degree (PharmD), which requires a minimum of six years of professional education, NACDS added.