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Pennsylvania Physicians Urge State Legislators to Support Immunization Expansion Bill

HARRISBURG, Pa., May 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association announced today that numerous physicians throughout the Commonwealth are urging state legislators to support House Bill 776, which would expand pharmacist provided immunizations to patients over the age of seven.  In letters sent to the House Professional Licensure Committee earlier this month, the physicians requested that members support the measure and vote it out of committee in the very near future.

The physician letters accompanied letters from the seven Pennsylvania Schools of Pharmacy, who also expressed support for HB 776.

"Pennsylvania currently ranks 16th in the nation in terms of vaccinating our children against preventable illnesses and diseases – there is definitely room for improvement there," said Robert Frankil , President of the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association. "We are very pleased to be working with Pennsylvania physicians to support legislation that would enable us to make progress in this area and help keep our state healthy.  We encourage legislators to support this important piece of legislation."

Pennsylvania last took a step to help ensure greater availability of critical vaccines in 2002 by amending the "Pharmacy Act" to allow pharmacists to deliver immunizations to individuals over the age of 18. Meanwhile, 39 other states have passed immunization expansion legislation allowing pharmacists with immunization credentials to provide such immunizations to individuals younger than 18 years of age.

By passing HB 776, the Commonwealth has an opportunity to put itself on par with these other states and build on previous efforts to prevent disease by expanding pharmacists' ability to administer these vaccines to children over the age of 7.

"We believe collaboration among physicians and pharmacists is key to improving vaccination rates in Pennsylvania," one letter stated. "Using pharmacists as immunizers is a convenient and easy way to boost rates for not only the flu vaccine but to also make needed school vaccines more accessible."

Expanding the types of vaccines that can be administered by pharmacists would provide greater access to vaccines and a greater vaccination rates among the population. There are more than 2,500 licensed pharmacists throughout the state who are ready and able to increase vaccination rates – with many in Medically Underserved Areas (MUAs) and Health Provider Shortage Areas (HSPAs) where oftentimes the local pharmacist is the most accessible and affordable health care provider.

With this in mind, we encourage state legislators to support HB 776.

Founded in 1878, the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association is a professional membership organization of more than 2,000 pharmacists and pharmacy students across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, representing almost all facets of pharmacy practice.  As the leading voice of pharmacy in Pennsylvania, it promotes the profession through advocacy, education, and communication to enhance patient care and public health.

SOURCE Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association
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