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Pa. bill would let pharmacists immunize children - abc27 WHTM

Pa. bill would let pharmacists immunize children

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

Kissing their children for the first time in months or years is a sight typically witnessed during soldier homecomings.

After serving our nation, many are armed with a new mission to protect their own. Even with veteran benefits, battling common children diseases can be costly.

Currently, it is illegal in Pennsylvania for a pharmacist to administer immunization shots to anyone under age 18.

State Representative Seth Grove (R-York) aims to change state law for good.

Under the Capital Rotunda, Grove and a line of white coat-wearing pharmacists stood to introduce House Bill 776.

Grove described a scenario where a military family of four could not receive free flu vaccinations.

"Sir, I can immunize you, ma'am, I can immunize you, but I can't touch your kids. You're going to have to go to the doctor's office and you're going to have to pay for it out of pocket," Grove said. "I think that's wrong. I think it's discriminatory."

House Bill 776 would allow nationally licensed pharmacists in Pennsylvania to administer shots to children ages seven to 17. Grove argues the bill would allow families to receive vaccinations at low cost or for free depending on their health care plans.

Mark Millan currently works as the communications director to the Pennsylvania Veterans Chamber of Commerce. A Navy veteran himself, he explained the struggles families have when it comes to affording health care.

"When you get out, you're pretty much on your own," he said. "We need to ensure that veterans still are able to get those resources."

Critics of the bill have argued there is a risk allowing pharmacists to administer shots. Many claim only licensed primary care physicians and pediatricians are able to handle adverse reactions to vaccinations.

Grove's bill would require only certified pharmacists to administer shots to youth. Nationally licensed pharmacists are trained in performing CPR and have a supply of anti-reaction medicine on hand such as epinephrine.

While it is not required in the bill, physicians explained it would be common practice to hold the child for an extra 20 minutes to make sure there is not a bad reaction. Currently, 36 other states allow pharmacists to administer shots.

State Senator Mike Stack said there aren't many times lawmakers can get a hold of a bill where everyone can agree on an issue. He said this should be that one bill.

"This legislation is really a common sense approach to closing a loophole that's so important," Stack said.

 

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