Bill would expand vaccinations given by pharmacists

Vaccinations for pneumonia, shingles and meningitis could be given by your local pharmacist under a bill passed unanimously Friday by the Senate.

House Bill 504 represents a compromise on an issue that has bounced around the Legislature including last year, when the Senate passed a similar measure but it failed in the House.

State law currently doesn’t allow pharmacies to offer the three vaccines covered by the bill, although pharmacists can give things like flu shots. Supporters say expanding that list is about accessibility — especially in rural areas. Senate Health and Human Services Chairwoman Renee Unterman, R-Buford, said earlier this year that she would prioritize the measure.

“As we have less access to primary care physicians, you know, even small towns have a CVS now,” Unterman said.

Because the Senate made changes to the bill, HB 504 now heads back to the House for review.