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New law provides expanded access to pneumonia and shingles vaccinations

4:46 PM, Apr 9, 2012   |    comments
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Tallahassee, Florida - You will soon be able to head to your local pharmacy and get a vaccine for pneumonia or shingles under a new law in Florida.

Gov. Rick Scott has signed legislation allowing pharmacists to administer those vaccines starting July 1. Pharmacists already have the authority to give flu shots.

The Florida Pharmacy Association believes more Floridians will get vaccinated against shingles and pneumonia if they can get the shot at their local drug stores.

It's estimated one in three seniors suffer from shingles and the flu causes thousands of deaths each year.

Michael Jackson of the Florida Pharmacy Association says expanding access to these vaccines will help many people.

"If there's a possibility that a death can be prevented as a result of getting the vaccine and if that vaccine were available through an easily accessible source such as a community pharmacy, to us that is truly a good public health policy."

Florida pharmacists have had the authority to give flu shots since 2007. Jackson says pharmacists have administered more than a million flu vaccinations in Florida and around the country without any safety problems.

"The advanced training that they get in today's pharmacy schools and the continuing education that pharmacists get, patients can be very comfortable in knowing that their pharmacists are qualified to provide these services."

Doctors fought the effort to let pharmacists offer more vaccinations, but the two groups worked out a compromise. Pharmacists will take continuing education courses from doctors and patients will have to get a doctor's prescription for the shingles vaccine.

Dave Heller

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