In a major win for pharmacy groups, the U.S. government has authorized all state-licensed pharmacists to order and give routine childhood vaccinations during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said it will allow state-licensed pharmacists to provide all vaccines recommended by the CDC and approved by the FDA to all children ages 3 to 18 during the COVID-19 pandemic, regardless of state laws and regulations.
The new rules were issued after the CDC reported a drop in routine childhood immunizations when families stayed at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While families followed public health warnings about going out, an unfortunate result was many missed routine vaccinations. This decrease in childhood-vaccination rates is a public health threat and a collateral harm caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The new rules do not apply to children younger than 3 years old, unless the pharmacist is acting under the direction of a pediatrician, because administering vaccines to younger children is more complex.