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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: 178110

Reported Deaths: 2468
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah35509570
Washington23824229
Marion20503299
Clackamas15674204
Lane11854144
Jackson10123129
Umatilla800883
Deschutes736872
Linn425664
Yamhill415575
Klamath362559
Polk350352
Malheur343558
Josephine311762
Douglas307066
Benton280219
Jefferson208332
Coos199231
Columbia157526
Union142024
Wasco132028
Lincoln131220
Hood River114029
Morrow108515
Clatsop9118
Crook90719
Baker88114
Curry6069
Tillamook5893
Grant4314
Lake4197
Harney3156
Wallowa1585
Gilliam571
Sherman571
Wheeler261
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3727913

Reported Deaths: 61309
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles123039823736
Riverside2977704555
San Bernardino2953154572
San Diego2759123684
Orange2693524910
Santa Clara1175382025
Kern1081311335
Sacramento1019061653
Fresno1008381654
Alameda857621481
Ventura803981002
San Joaquin718991340
Contra Costa67300782
Stanislaus606771035
Tulare49469831
Monterey43346380
San Mateo41318560
San Francisco36194529
Santa Barbara33926445
Solano32126244
Merced31321454
Sonoma29747318
Imperial28052719
Kings22825246
Placer21979283
San Luis Obispo21038260
Madera16309240
Santa Cruz15759204
Marin13883227
Yolo13606205
Shasta11779219
Butte11643196
El Dorado9831109
Napa973779
Sutter9322110
Yuba613844
San Benito599863
Lassen568524
Tehama545957
Nevada450575
Tuolumne409164
Mendocino399847
Humboldt369738
Amador363247
Lake342143
Glenn236125
Colusa220816
Calaveras206652
Siskiyou197921
Inyo141938
Del Norte12927
Mono12744
Plumas6976
Modoc4924
Mariposa4317
Trinity3985
Sierra1100
Alpine880
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