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Pharmacists now allowed to administer childhood vaccines, but pediatricians disapprove

In a move aimed at making it easier to get children vaccinated, the US Department of Health and Human Services said it would authorize any state-licensed pha...

Posted: Aug 20, 2020 6:19 AM

In a move aimed at making it easier to get children vaccinated, the US Department of Health and Human Services said it would authorize any state-licensed pharmacist to administer childhood vaccines.

But the American Academy of Pediatrics, which represents pediatricians, immediately slammed the decision, calling it "incredibly misguided."

"In the middle of a pandemic, what families are looking for is reassurance and clinical guidance from the doctors they trust most to care for their children: pediatricians," AAP President Dr. Sally Goza said in a statement on Wednesday.

Designed to improve vaccination rates

Health and Human Services said it had amended the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) to allow all state-licensed pharmacists to immunize children over the age of 3 "to increase access to childhood vaccines and decrease the risk of vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks as children across the United States return to daycare, preschool and school."

Previously, a little more than half of states allowed pharmacists to administer vaccines to children. States generally regulate medical practice, and all 50 states require children to be vaccinated to attend public school.

"Today's action means easier access to lifesaving vaccines for our children, as we seek to ensure immunization rates remain high during the COVID-19 pandemic," HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement.

He said the move would empower "the public with more options to protect their health and well-being."

Orders for childhood vaccines fell sharply at the peak of the pandemic in early spring, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. That's as doctors' offices closed or reduced their hours, prompting concern that many children would miss out on their vaccines. But a later CDC report showed the situation was correcting itself.

The American Pharmacists Association called it "a major win" on Twitter.

"We have long advocated that pharmacists are uniquely positioned to address this public health emergency, and we worked with HHS to develop this strategy to engage all pharmacists," said Scott Knoer, CEO of APhA.

The group noted that pharmacists must complete a 20-hour training course before they may administer vaccines to children.

Pediatricians disagree

The American Academy of Pediatrics immediately voiced its disagreement with the plan.

"Today's action supersedes state laws governing the scope of pharmacists' ability to administer vaccines, using the COVID-19 pandemic as justification to make policy change that goes well beyond care related to COVID-19," the group said in a statement.

"This move is incredibly misguided," Goza said.

"The unprecedented expansion of pharmacies' ability to administer vaccines to children is not a solution to the vaccine hesitancy that is driving down rates of childhood immunizations in the U.S," Goza said.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 387485

Reported Deaths: 5116
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah59768836
Washington41571393
Marion39592504
Clackamas32426376
Lane29856354
Jackson24672350
Deschutes23182185
Umatilla15087180
Linn14488178
Douglas13236286
Josephine10057240
Yamhill9665142
Klamath8979145
Polk813698
Benton605137
Malheur591586
Coos5573106
Columbia423855
Jefferson416865
Lincoln357252
Union336854
Crook330156
Wasco314846
Clatsop258335
Baker217531
Tillamook214345
Hood River211337
Morrow197025
Curry190136
Harney119332
Grant108314
Lake104016
Wallowa74713
Sherman1903
Gilliam1844
Wheeler1141
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5057759

Reported Deaths: 74098
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles152224027074
San Diego4047084319
Riverside3849455306
San Bernardino3718825944
Orange3329505675
Sacramento1674002423
Kern1565171781
Fresno1558992246
Santa Clara1511691922
Alameda1246581499
San Joaquin1070001833
Ventura1036461188
Contra Costa1032921045
Stanislaus910641413
Tulare856141082
San Francisco56614669
San Mateo56058627
Monterey52340625
Solano47422356
Santa Barbara47035548
Merced44807664
Sonoma42912412
Placer41881468
Imperial38128769
Kings35038358
San Luis Obispo31294358
Madera26005311
Shasta25917440
Butte25295309
Santa Cruz22028222
Yolo21451257
Marin18342248
El Dorado18166161
Sutter14494181
Napa13372104
Yuba1070088
Tehama10230129
Humboldt10043117
Nevada9914103
Mendocino848894
Lassen792355
San Benito775977
Tuolumne767790
Lake6990110
Amador573766
Siskiyou470954
Glenn455136
Calaveras435685
Del Norte371242
Colusa323519
Inyo254345
Plumas19127
Mono18294
Mariposa156718
Trinity98817
Modoc7475
Unassigned2430
Sierra2170
Alpine1060
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