By: Zach Simpson
On August 19, an amendment to the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act was announced by HHS which allows pharmacists in every state to now administer childhood vaccinations to children ages 3 and older, subject to several requirements,
- The vaccine must be approved or licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- The vaccination must be ordered and administered according to the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) immunization schedules.
- The licensed pharmacist must complete a practical training program of at least 20 hours that is approved by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). This training program must include hands-on injection technique, clinical evaluation of indications and contraindications of vaccines, and the recognition and treatment of emergency reactions to vaccines.
- The licensed or registered pharmacy intern must complete a practical training program that is approved by the ACPE. This training program must include hands-on injection technique, clinical evaluation of indications and contraindications of vaccines, and the recognition and treatment of emergency reactions to vaccines.
- The licensed pharmacist and licensed or registered pharmacy intern must have a current certificate in basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
- The licensed pharmacist must complete a minimum of two hours of ACPE-approved, immunization-related continuing pharmacy education during each State licensing period.
- The licensed pharmacist must comply with recordkeeping and reporting requirements of the jurisdiction in which he or she administers vaccines, including informing the patient’s primary-care provider when available, submitting the required immunization information to the State or local immunization information system (vaccine registry), complying with requirements with respect to reporting adverse events, and complying with requirements whereby the person administering a vaccine must review the vaccine registry or other vaccination records prior to administering a vaccine.
- The licensed pharmacist must inform his or her childhood-vaccination patients and the adult caregivers accompanying the children of the importance of a well-child visit with a pediatrician or other licensed primary care provider and refer patients as appropriate.
- HHS said the decision to expand pharmacists’ vaccination authority was made because of a “troubling drop” in routine childhood vaccinations caused by families staying home during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“This decrease in childhood-vaccination rates is a public health threat and a collateral harm caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” HHS said.
The agency said the amendment is intended to avoid preventable diseases in children, additional strains on the healthcare system and any further increase in avoidable adverse health consequences, particularly if such complications coincide with an additional resurgence of COVID-19.