Amid the national measles outbreak, a new bill is circulating in Wisconsin that would allow pharmacists to give vaccinations to children of all ages.
Current data shows that Wisconsin doesn’t meet state and federal prevention goals on a number of vaccine-preventable diseases. Officials say this poses a threat to community health but a new bill could help change that by expanding access to vaccinations for families.
When it comes to immunization shots, Wisconsin has tough rules for pharmacists.
“Currently the law allows for pharmacists to vaccinate anyone over the age six for anything within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccination schedule. This happens through partnership with the pharmacy and doctor’s office,” said Mandy Kvam, a pharmacist at HSHS Sacred Heart.
A new bill proposed by two rural lawmakers in Wisconsin would slightly change things, allowing pharmacists to vaccinate children of all ages with a prescription. Local health officials say it could be helpful.
“We see lower vaccination rates in the state of Wisconsin than what we currently would like to see compared to CDC guidelines. In Eau Claire that is no different as well, we are seeing lower vaccination rates than what is recommended,” said Kvam.
Health officials say the bill would also benefit families living in rural areas by expanding their access to health care.
“In northern Wisconsin we have many people that live far away from the doctor’s office and far away from the general city so being able to go to your local pharmacy and getting these vaccines can be a huge improvement to health care,” said Kvam.
The new bill would also allow pharmacists to vaccinate all ages against any diseases on the CDC immunization schedule without a prescription. This would include vaccinations for measles, tetanus, HPV and more.
“With low vaccination rates in the community, it leads our most vulnerable populations open to disease so we’re talking our children who are too young to get vaccinated, patients who have autoimmune disorders and patients with other disorders that they cannot get vaccinated so it’s really important that everyone who can get vaccinated does so,” said Kvam.
If the bill passes, Wisconsin would become the 28th state to allow pharmacists to vaccinate people of all ages.
If you have questions about the bill or vaccinations in general, health officials encourage you to reach out to your community pharmacy for more information.