Receiving an annual flu vaccination at the local pharmacy has become commonplace. Pharmacies are a low-cost convenient way to access this type of routine healthcare. For many high risk populations – seniors, minorities, low-income families, and rural residents – pharmacies may be the only point of access for life-saving immunizations.
Currently, Louisiana law only permits pharmacists to administer two vaccines – seasonal flu and H1N1. But why shouldn’t we expand the types of vaccines that are available at pharmacies to include other diseases? Many states already have. In fact, every state bordering Louisiana including Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Mississippi allow pharmacists to administer all federally-approved vaccinations to adults without a prescription.
Senate Bill 378, introduced by State Senator Fred Mills, will expand the types of vaccines Louisiana pharmacists are allowed to administer. If passed, this law will allow professional pharmacists in high-risk areas of the state, where there is a shortage of healthcare professionals, to vaccinate patients against pneumonia and shingles.
The bill is a step in the right direction for the thousands of Louisiana citizens who have difficulty getting the healthcare they need. Allowing pharmacists to administer these vaccines will go a long way toward improving public health in Louisiana and ensuring disadvantaged populations have equal access to quality healthcare.
Tulane University Law School