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Advocates Press For Pharmacies To Administer All Approved Vaccines

The COVID-19 vaccine moves from cold storage at the Department of Health to coolers and is transported to the TU Center for mass vaccination clinics.
Jackie Orchard
COVID-19 Vaccine

Public health and social justice organizations are calling for pharmacists to be allowed to administer all CDC recommended vaccines.The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, NAACP New York State Conference, New York State Association of County Health Organizations, New York Public Health Association and more than 20 other groups are urging lawmakers in Albany to pass legislation allowing pharmacists to administer all vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to anyone over the age of 18. Currently, state law allows for the administration of some vaccines, but not others.

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network senior New York government relations director Julie Hart:

"While the state previously took action allowing pharmacists to administer the COVID-19 vaccine pharmacist or not able to administer all vaccines approved by the CDC and this includes the HPV vaccine. Across the nation nearly 35,000 men and women are diagnosed with cancers that are caused by HPV annually. HPV causes six different types of cancer. Now, imagine if we had a cancer vaccine. We do. The HPV vaccine can help prevent nearly 90 per-cent of HPV cancers, but unfortunately New York is only one of two states that do not allow pharmacists to administer the HPV vaccine."

Others include hepatitis and measles...

Annette Gaudino is director of policy strategy of the Treatment Action Group.

"New Yorkers across the state have trusted tens of thousands of pharmacy providers to deliver literally millions of Covid vaccines safely and effectively in the last several months and we have absolutely no reports of adverse reactions to those vaccines that were related at all to where they got their vaccine, whether it be a pharmacy or another site. Pharmacies are literally around the corner. They with expanded hours and off easy access. They reduce travel time for individuals whether it be in a rural area and just make a health care and the power of the page powerful mention that comes with vaccines accessible to more.”

Lorraine Braithwaite-Harte, New York State Conference Health Chair with the NAACP, agrees and adds the need for accessible vaccines is even greater in marginalized neighborhoods.

"NAACP believes that as a social justice issue, we have many in our community that are essential workers and essential workers, as it stands, some of them are the working poor, and they cannot afford to take time off from their jobs, even an hour to go in to see their primary physician and lose any time any pay. So having vaccines, HPV, which prevents cancers and hepatitis B, and other vaccines that the CDC has put out the list of CDC required adult vaccines available at local pharmacies in the communities. It's a tremendous plus. And it will reduce the amount of illness in the Black and brown community."

Both Assembly and Senate versions of the bill are in committee and have bi-partisan support. The measure was introduced by Senator Toby Ann Stavisky [S. 4807] and Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman [A.6476], both New York City Democrats, and is supported by Assemblyman John McDonald, a Cohoes Democrat and pharmacist.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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