Pharmacists can now vaccinate children 3-18 in all 50 states

The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released an amendment to the PREP Act that allows pharmacists to administer vaccines to children in all 50 states. This update to the PREP Act (Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act) was a third amendment made on August 19, 2020. This authority has several requirements which must be met before vaccinations can be ordered and/or administered.

A newly expanded authority was granted this week to pharmacists* that allows them to order and administer vaccines to individuals ages three through 18 years. *This authority is given to State-licensed pharmacists as well as pharmacy interns acting under their supervision to administer vaccines, if the pharmacy intern is licensed or registered by his or her States board of pharmacy.

Per the amendment to the PREP Act, the vaccine must be approved or licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and be ordered and administered according to the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) immunization schedules.

There's a 20+ hour practical training program that needs to be done (via the ACPE), which includes hands-on technique practice, evaluations, and more. This is true of both the licensed pharmacist and the licensed or registered pharmacy intern. Both must have a current certificate in basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

During each State licensing period, the licensed pharmacist must complete "a minimum of two hours of ACPE-approved, immunization-related continuing pharmacy education." The pharmacist must comply with record keeping and reporting requirements of their jurisdiction. The pharmacist "must inform his or her childhood-vaccination patients and the adult caregivers accompanying the children of the importance of a well-child visit with a pediatrician or other licensed primary care provider and refer patients as appropriate."

This newly administered authorization to administer vaccinations to people between the ages 3 and 18 was given "to avoid preventable diseases in children, additional strains on the healthcare system, and any further increase in avoidable adverse health consequences." The HSS made specific note that they'd like to avoid adverse health consequences "particularly if such complications coincide with an additional resurgence of COVID-19.

If you are a parent or a pharmacist, head over to the HSS announcement for this expansion of authorization for the administering of vaccinations in the USA to learn more.