CONTACT: Valerie Wickboldt
Governor Rick Scott Hosts Ceremonial Bill Signing During National Immunization Awareness Month
~ Legislation increases Floridians access to critical immunizations; awareness month promotes importance of vaccines for adults and children ~
TALLAHASSEE- Today at the Capitol, Gov. Rick Scott hosted a ceremonial bill signing for the Vaccine Access Act to advocate during Immunization Awareness Month the importance of new legislation that increases Floridians access to the pneumonia and shingles vaccine. The Act allows qualified, immunizing pharmacists in Florida to administer these vaccinations to adults helping to decrease the number of individuals threatened by these debilitating diseases.
“This important legislation will increase Floridians access to life-saving vaccinations and I’m proud to give it special attention this month since August is dedicated to promoting the importance of immunizations for children and adults,” said Gov. Scott. “I encourage Florida’s families to talk to their health care providers to ensure they are caught up on necessary immunizations.”
On July 1, Governor Scott signed the new law into effect after it passed nearly unanimously in both the House and Senate. The legislation is targeted towards adults, specifically seniors, with the hopes of increasing immunization rates among millions and creating a healthier Florida resident population. The shingles and pneumonia vaccines, along with the influenza vaccine, are offered year-round at local pharmacies and no prior appointment is required. However, a physician’s prescription is required for the shingles vaccine only.
“Most Floridians already visit their local pharmacies at least once a month, making pharmacies a convenient one-stop option for prescription medications, pharmacy counseling, and immunization promotion and delivery,” said Bill Mincy, BPharm, vice president of business development of PPSC, and the national board chair of Pharmacy Choice and Access Now (PCAN).
Like all other states, Florida already permits qualified and certified pharmacists to administer influenza vaccines. Florida now joins 45 other states that allow pharmacists to administer vaccines for pneumonia and 40 states that allow pharmacists to administer Zostavax for shingles.
Already, immunization rates against the seasonal flu have increased throughout the country in the five years pharmacists have been designated to administer vaccines. The Vaccine Access Act is expected to increase vaccination rates against pneumonia and shingles across the state.
PCAN applauds the efforts of Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature, specifically bill sponsors Rep. Ana Rivas Logan (R-Miami) and Sen. Steve Oelrich (R-Cross Creek) for their continued support and passage of this new law.