Bill would allow pharmacists to give shots to children


Pharmacists in Rhode Island may soon get the OK to give vaccinations to children.

“It’s adults only now, this will lower the age,” said Kelly Orr of the University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy professor.

A bill that just passed in the Senate will allow pharmacists to administer injections to individuals between the ages of 9 and 18.

The injections cannot be administered by a pharmacist without parental consent.

The measure is aimed at providing flu immunizations for children who may not be able to get to the doctor’s office.

“Because with H1N1, we saw that pharmacists could play a role in helping to vaccinate the population, but we were very limited in only assisting with the adult clinics,” Orr said.

Those opposed to the bill, however, question if local pharmacists should even administer injections to young people.

Orr says state pharmacists undergo extensive training.

“There’s a 20-hour training program done by the American Pharmacists Association which includes a practice where the pharmacist has to inject his partner with saline, so they have practiced and they’ve demonstrated proficiency in injecting vaccinations,” she said.

Orr said she doesn’t know if the bill is intended to make pharmacies more like clinics, but she said they do want to be more like the health care team.

“We want to provide access to vaccines,” she said.

For parents who oppose injections, nasal preparations or the flu mist will also be available for children without chronic diseases.

The bill heads to the House. If it is approved, it will go to the Board of Pharmacies for review.

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