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Pharmacies would continue vaccinating against flu, COVID-19 under proposal in House

(House Photography file photo)
(House Photography file photo)

Many Minnesotans turn to a local pharmacy when it’s time for their annual flu vaccination or a COVID-19 booster. The law that allows this will expire at the end of the year. 

Sponsored by Rep. Kristin Bahner (DFL-Maple Grove), HF1197, as amended, would codify this pharmaceutical practice into law with no risk of expiration. The House Health Finance and Policy Committee laid the bill over Wednesday for possible inclusion in a larger bill.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, the federal government turned to pharmacists to help doctors and clinics administer vaccinations. “And they delivered,” Bahner said, adding that more than 56% of Minnesotans receive vaccinations at pharmacies.

Health finance panel considers HF1197 3/13/24

“While doctors and clinicians continue to make the case [for vaccinations], they cannot do this work alone,” Bahner said. 

The bill would allow pharmacies to perform tests and order, and administer, vaccinations to individuals ages 3 and older (down from the current practice of age 6) for influenza, COVID-19, and SARS-CoV-2, and all other vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration to individuals ages 6 and older (down from age 13).

It would also allow pharmacist technicians and pharmacist interns to administer vaccinations, provided they have completed training by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, have a current certificate in basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and are acting under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist.

Minnesota pharmacies have administered more than 5 million vaccinations since 2020, said Dr. Ann Philbrick, associate professor at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy. 

“We simply cannot continue to provide at that elevated level of care without the authorization for pharmacy technicians to vaccinate,” said Jason Miller, a pharmacy program manager who spoke on behalf of the Minnesota Pharmacists Association and the Minnesota Pharmacy Alliance.

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