by Damon Boughamer
Public Radio Capitol News, serving Pennsylvania
Harrisburg, Penna. (PRCN, 10 July 2006) – New rules will allow Pennsylvania pharmacists to administer flu vaccine, and drug store operators say they are pleased.
But they say this may only be of some help when it comes to distributing the vaccine.
Pharmacy representatives testified at a special state House hearing, thanking lawmakers for making Pennsylvania one of several states that will allow pharmacists to give flu shots.
"We support this program... because we want to provide greater access to the necessary vaccinations for the general public," said Robert Thompson, a vice president at Cumberland County-based Rite Aid. "We also believe that some consumers may find it more convenient to obtain a vaccination from their pharmacist than from other providers."
But they stressed that pressure on care providers will ease only if supplies of the vaccine are sufficient. Shortages have ranged from sporadic to widespread over the past several years, and Ed McGinley with Pathmark Stores says it’s a continuing concern.
"Because of your foresight and your recognition of the role that pharmacists have in the health care delivery system, Pennsylvania will have the delivery to have ‘all hands on deck,’ so to speak, should the need arise to perform mass inoculations," McGinley told legislators. "That is, of course, if the supply is available."
The new pharmacists’ regulations are published in the July 1 Pennsylvania Bulletin.