Filed Under:  Letter to the Editor, Opinion

Vaccinations by pharmacists

7th May 2012   ·   0 Comments

It has become commonplace to receive an annual flue vaccination at the local pharmacy. That’s a good thing because pharmacies can be a low-cost, convenient way to get this kind of routine health service. Otherwise, certain high-risk Louisianians—like seniors, ethnic minorities, low-income families, and rural residents—might go without.

So why shouldn’t we expand that types of vaccines that are available at pharmacies to include other dangerous and deadly diseases that affect those same high-risk populations?

That is exactly what Senate Bill 378, introduced by State Senator Fred Mills, will do. This law would allow professional pharmacists in high-risk areas of the state, where there is a shortage of health care professionals, to vaccinate patients against pneumonia and shingles.

That should be a no-brainer. More than 50,000 people in Louisiana get pneumonia each year, which for seniors can be a very dangerous illness. Shingles is also an illness that affects one million Americans every year, particularly seniors and those with compromised immune systems.

Allowing pharmacists to administer these vaccines will go a long way toward improving public health in Louisiana and ensuring disadvantaged populations have equal access to quality health care. SB378 should be passed by the state legislature.

– Madison Hardee

This article was originally published in the May 7, 2012 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper

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