NY Pharmacists Authorized to Deliver Flu Shots to Children

Pharmacists granted waiver to administer influenza vaccines to minors in NY
statute of liberty

New York State Governor Cuomo signed an executive order to combat the influenza epidemic in New York.

Executive Order #176 enables pharmacists to administer flu vaccines to children ages 2 to 18.

This Executive Order suspends the section of state education law that limits the authority of pharmacists to administer immunizing agents to anyone under age 18.

Parents and guardians with children between the ages of 6 months and 24 months are still encouraged to see their primary care provider for the flu vaccination.

"With flu cases reaching epidemic proportions in New York, we must do everything in our power to fight this virus and keep New Yorkers safe," Governor Cuomo said.

"Once again, I urge all New Yorkers to help us combat this quick-spreading strain of flu and make sure they and their loved ones are vaccinated."

To receive a flu shot, contact your local healthcare provider or pharmacy, or find information about vaccination clinics by contacting your local health department.

Pharmacists in all states are allowed to administer a long list of vaccinations, but state laws vary. Also, in some states, certain vaccines require a doctor's prescription. When in doubt, check with your pharmacist.

The scope of pharmacists’ vaccination authority is expanding nationwide despite state-to-state variations in statutes and regulations, say researchers in a paper published in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association.

After examining the laws in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, these researchers found that although some states still do not allow pharmacists to vaccinate according to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations, overall the trend is toward fewer restrictions and greater leeway for pharmacists involvement and discretion.

While pharmacists in many jurisdictions can provide some components of travel health services, only one, New Mexico, currently allows pharmacists to practice all aspects of travel vaccinations independently, according to a recent study. 

This study reported in 44 jurisdictions (86.3%), pharmacists were allowed to administer travel immunizations. Twenty-seven jurisdictions (52.9%) allowed pharmacists to furnish travel medications. Pharmacists in 23 jurisdictions (43.1%) could order travel health-related laboratory tests.

Mike Duteau, Chain Pharmacy Association President, said, "The Chain Pharmacy Association of New York fully supports Governor Andrew Cuomo's Executive Order to allow pharmacists to provide flu shots to children two years old and above.”

“Pharmacists are one of the most accessible community healthcare providers, often open nights and weekends.  Please contact your pharmacist today to see if he or she can provide this important service for you and your family."

Most pharmacies offer FDA approved flu vaccines.

The flu shot cost varies depending on your insurance and which state you live. The CDC Vaccine Price List provides the private sector vaccine prices for general information.

Flu vaccine discounts can be found here.

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects, says the CDC. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.

For more information about the flu, click here.