This month, Pennsylvania state lawmakers introduced legislation to improve access to vaccination in pharmacies. Currently, pharmacies in PA are only allowed to administer vaccines to adults ages 18 and older, except for the flu vaccine which can be given to children as young as age 9. The proposed legislation would allow pharmacists to administer any vaccine to children ages nine and older.
Recent outbreaks of preventable diseases demonstrate the pressing need to improve vaccination rates. Heightened levels of vaccine hesitancy have contributed to undervaccination in many communities, and some families simply do not prioritize immunization over the many other competing demands on their time and resources. However, we do know that families often interact with pharmacists more regularly than with primary care providers, and the convenience added by allowing pharmacists to administer vaccines has led to increased immunization rates among adults.
This new bill is in line with our many recommendations for protecting the health and safety of children, families and communities from preventable disease by making vaccines more accessible to Pennsylvania families. For PolicyLab’s strategies to address vaccine hesitancy, optimize access and increase vaccination rates, see our recent Evidence to Action brief, blog post and webinar.
Puja Upadhyay is a policy and strategy intern at PolicyLab completing her degree in Health and Societies at the University of Pennsylvania. She is interested in leveraging public health policy to improve the social determinants of health for vulnerable populations.