Tallahassee, Fla. – Pharmacy Choice & Access Now (PCAN), a nationwide coalition of consumers, local business and pharmacists today commends the Florida Senate and bill sponsor Senator Steve Oelrich (R-Gainesville) for passing the Vaccine Access Act (HB 509/SB 850), a bill that will allow qualified pharmacists to administer the shingles and pneumonia vaccine in addition to influenza vaccines to adults in Florida. The Senate approved the Act 36-1. The House had previously passed the Act unanimously.
“This is a great day for Floridians and demonstrates the desire for patients to have improved access to the vaccines that are critical to their health and well-being,” said Bill Mincy, BPharm, vice president of business development of PPSC, and the national board chair of PCAN, a coalition working to preserve quality and affordable health care and pharmacy services for patients. “This measure is a way to keep health care costs down -- helping patients to receive preventative immunizations rather than expensive treatments.”
The Vaccine Access Act will now be sent to Governor Rick Scott for his approval and if signed into law will bring Florida further in step with the other 46 states that allow qualified pharmacists to administer the pneumonia vaccine and 46 states that allow pharmacists to administer Zostavax for shingles with a prescription.
“It’s not every session the legislature is faced with an issue that receives such wide support,” said Michael Jackson, executive vice president and CEO of the Florida Pharmacy Association and member of PCAN. “But the Vaccine Access Act is truly commonsense policy and significantly impacts the lives of Floridians in a positive way -- even saving their lives. We encourage Governor Scott to see this Act as a cost-saving and life-saving measure that Floridians can immediately experience the benefits of.”
Quotes from Prestigious Medical Doctors in Support of the Vaccine Access Act:
“Florida will be one of the last states to allow highly-trained pharmacists to administer these vaccines, but it is better late than never. Many Floridians, especially in poor or rural areas, have limited access to doctor’s offices and clinics. Passing this legislation will have a significant impact, assuredly saving lives and reducing rates of infection.” - Dr. Pedro Greer Jr., MD, FACP, FACG, Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient & Professor of Medicine Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine
“As a past president of the American Geriatrics Society, I can tell you that we need to more protection for our seniors. Primary prevention through immunization is the most cost-effective care available. All professional medical organizations support immunizations of older persons, and the CDC recommends expanding access to them through provision by a wide variety of trained health care providers. This is such an important issue that we must not let turf battles negatively impact the health and wellbeing of our senior Floridians.” - Kenneth Brummel-Smith, MD, ABFP, AGSF, Charlotte Edwards Maguire Professor & Chair, Department of Geriatrics Florida State University College of Medicine
For more information visit www.vaccineaccess.com.