Pharmacists in All States Can Vaccinate Kids

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay reporter

WEDNESDAY, Aug 19, 2020 (HealthDay News) – Children can now be vaccinated by pharmacists in all 50 states as the U.S. government seeks to prevent a drop in routine immunizations during the coronavirus pandemic.

While 28 states have already allowed pharmacists to immunize children, the directive announced Wednesday by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will temporarily lift restrictions in 22 states starting this fall. Associated press reported.

The directive was issued by HHS chief Alex Azar using the emergency powers at his disposal during the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, which has been declared a public health emergency.

“Especially as the school season approaches, it is essential that children have easy access to pediatric vaccinations to enable them to return to school when schools reopen,” said Azar, the AP reported.

The Trump administration has been pushing for schools and daycares to reopen as part of an effort to get parents back to work and help kick-start the economy.

Childhood vaccinations from doctors’ offices fell sharply in late March and early April, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, a survey of pediatricians in May found that most offices were open and could give recommended injections during childhood, and more than half could accept new patients if needed. AP reported.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) quickly challenged the new HHS decision.

“This decision is incredibly misguided. In the midst of a pandemic, what families seek is reassurance and clinical advice from the doctors they trust most to care for their children: pediatricians,” AAP President Dr Sally Goza said in a statement. “Pediatrician offices are open and secure. We have all the necessary vaccines for children and adolescents in stock with trained healthcare professionals who can administer them. We know that the best and safest place for children to be immunized is in their medical homes.

Under the HHS directive, state-licensed pharmacies can administer childhood vaccines without a doctor’s prescription. But pharmacists must first complete a training program, officials added.

Continued

However, the new directive does not allow pharmacists to give vaccines to children under the age of 3 because they lack the required training or medical support, said Dr Brett Giroir, HHS assistant secretary at the Health, the AP reported.

The American Pharmacists Association had spoken with federal officials about expanding the services its members can provide during the pandemic, the AP reported.

“I wouldn’t say we pitched” the idea of ​​getting federal permission to immunize children, said Mitchel Rothholz, the association’s chief governance officer and state affiliates. AP. “It was part of the ongoing conversations with policy makers, both at the federal and state levels.”

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Sources

SOURCE:Associated press; August 19, 2020, statement, American Academy of Pediatrics



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