Bill would allow pharmacists to administer flu vaccine
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Bill would allow pharmacists to administer flu vaccine

Date: February 28, 2007
By: Arlene L. Bishop
State Capitol Bureau
Links: SB 195, HB 545, HB 590

JEFFERSON CITY - Under a bill that received initial Senate passage Tuesday, pharmacists would be allowed to administer influenza vaccines.

The bill's sponsor, Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, was unavailable for comment.

The bill would provide that the State Board of Pharmacy could grant a pharmacist who can prove that he or she has achieved clinical instruction beyond a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy with the authority to administer the shot.

The bill also also establish a well-being committee to "promote the early identification, intervention, treatment, and rehabilitation of licensees...who may be impaired by reasons of illness, substance abuse, or as a result of any physical or mental condition."

Two similar bills have gained House passage and have been referred to the Senate.

Mary Martin of the Columbia Health Department said that, under current law, if pharmacies want to offer the flu shot to their customers they must either be Doctors of Pharmacy or hire nurse practitioners to administer the shot.

"It's not rocket science to give a shot," she said. "The question is, are they covered from liability if they are doing it."

Martin added that those who need flu shots can "walk into the health department" and get them. She also added that, "If you go to a doctor's office, they'll give you the flu shot if they have the vaccine."

Bob Kilgore, pharmacist and proprietor of Kilgore's Medical Pharmacy at 700 N. Providence Rd., said that his pharmacy does not currently offer the flu vaccine because the pharmacy would be required to have a protocol set up with a physician, but he supports the bill.

"Anything that we can do to help access immunizations for patients is a good thing," he said.

Michael Polzin, a spokesman for Walgreen's Pharmacies said that Walgreen's has encouraged states to allow pharmacists to give flu shots.

"I think having them available to do them at a pharmacy makes it more accessible for patients," he said. "Sometimes they have a difficult time getting to a clinic at a particular time or place. I think it just makes it easier for them to get the shot."

He said that Walgreen's currently operates in six states in where flu shots can be given by pharmacists.  He said that those states are Iowa, Va., Col., Tex., N.M., and Wash.

The Missouri law would require that pharmacists only administer the shot to patients with a doctor's prescription.

"I guess it wouldn't be as helpful as a situation where they did not need a prescription from a doctor," he said.

The bill must be read once more before the Senate. If then passed, it will be referred to the House.