Access to Childhood Vaccines Expanded
HHS has issued a third amendment to the Declaration under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) authorizing state-licensed pharmacists to order and administer vaccines to patients ages 3-18.On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a third amendment to the Declaration under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) authorizing state-licensed pharmacists to order and administer vaccines to patients ages three through eighteen.
The amendment will allow pharmacists “to practice at the top of their license,” as stated by HHS Secretary Alex Azar, increase access to lifesaving childhood vaccines across the country, and decrease the risk of twenty-seven vaccine-preventable diseases. Routine vaccinations have decreased significantly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and pharmacists can assist with children receiving necessary vaccinations as they return to school and daycare.
HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Brett P. Giroir reminds parents and grandparents of the importance of keeping up with routine check-ups and vaccinations, stating, “there is no substitute for a critically important well-child visit.” With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this is imperative in preventing avoidable adverse health complications.
As this is a new authority, parents and caretakers should call ahead to ensure their pharmacy has the vaccines on hand, and whether their insurance will cover the vaccine when administered at the pharmacy.
Iowa Pharmacy Association's Executive Vice President & CEO, Kate Gainer, stated “Iowa pharmacists have been providing care and frontline services to their communities throughout each step of the COVID-19 pandemic. Iowans are used to receiving influenza and other adult vaccines at the pharmacy. With this amendment, pharmacists can increase access to additional childhood vaccines.”