In the capitol, hundreds of pharmacists push for Vaccine Access Act

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Today, members of the Pharmacy Choice and Access Now (PCAN) coalition stood with Rep. Ana Rivas Logan (R-Miami-Dade) and hundreds of Florida pharmacists to support the Vaccine Access Act as it made its first committee stops in the House and Senate. The pending legislation would expand the types of vaccinations qualified pharmacists can administer to the senior Floridians. The Florida Pharmacy Association Executive Vice President, Michael Jackson, BPharm, CPh, led the press conference and promoted the benefits of the legislation during the Florida Pharmacy Health Fair.

“Improved access to healthcare has dominated the nation’s attention and divided the country, but Florida has an opportunity to pass commonsense healthcare legislation with this bill,” said Rep. Rivas Logan.  “Florida is one of the few states left in the nation that has not provided their citizens the option to receive additional vaccinations from their pharmacist aside from the influenza vaccine. This legislation puts Florida in step with the 45 other states in the nation that allow pharmacists to administer the pneumonia vaccine and the 40 states which allow pharmacy administration of the shingles vaccine without a prescription. It brings Florida into the new age of immunization rate expansion.”

The Vaccine Access Act would increase a Floridian’s ability to safely and easily receive vaccines from highly trained pharmacists. Since 2007, Florida pharmacists have proven to play a critical role in the administration of the influenza vaccine and have helped to create a healthier Florida resident population.

“Year after year, pharmacists are voted one of the most trusted healthcare providers by a nationwide Gallup poll. That rings true here in Florida,” said Bill Mincy, PPSC vice-president and PCAN member. “The average Floridian visits their local pharmacy at least once a month and has experienced firsthand Florida’s pharmacists’ commitment to quality, dependable service. The frequency of visits to and extended availability of Florida’s thousands of pharmacists increases the likelihood Floridians will receive their needed vaccinations from this valued healthcare provider.”

Monday marked the beginning of Florida Pharmacists’ Legislative Days with healthcare advocates visiting lawmakers and promoting the rigorous, extensive training of their profession. Hundreds of Florida’s licensed pharmacists and pharmacy students were on hand to answer medication-related questions and offered complimentary health screenings during the Florida Pharmacy Health Fair which followed the press conference. The Vaccine Access Act would allow only qualified pharmacists to administer vaccinations. To become certified, pharmacists must have a Florida license, as well as complete an immunization administration certification program approved by the Florida Board of Pharmacy.

“Florida’s pharmacists have aggressively worked to help our seniors avoid the devastating issues surrounding the complications of influenza by promoting and providing immunizations services.  Our licensees are more than capable to serve Florida’s citizens by providing critical vaccinations in a user-friendly, convenient manner,” said Michael Jackson, executive vice-president of the Florida Pharmacy Association and PCAN member. “We have had no difficulty helping Florida‘s doctors combat the flu and we want to continue to be a part of the collaborative health care team in combating preventable diseases. It’s time Florida becomes innovative in its public policymaking and remove barriers to lifesaving and cost effective medical treatments.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.