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New Florida vaccines law takes effect July 1

By Staff | Jun 30, 2015

Florida consumers will now have more convenient access to new vaccines at their local pharmacy starting July 1, thanks to a new law passed by the Florida Legislature.

House Bill 279, signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott on June 10, will now allow patients to receive several new vaccines at pharmacies, instead of having to go to their doctors’ offices.

The new vaccines include Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, TDAP (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, also known as whooping cough), varicella, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), meningococcal and pneumococcal. Vaccines for influenza and shingles were already available at all local pharmacies.

“Access to vaccinations is important for the continued welfare of our communities, and the inability of Floridians to receive vaccinations puts them, their family members and the wider community at risk,” said Senator Aaron Bean, chair of the Senate Health Policy Committee, in a prepared statement. “The one way to ensure that more people receive needed vaccinations is to make it more convenient, and this legislation increases that access and will help keep all residents and visitors safe and healthy.”

This key health care expansion comes as studies show a nationwide doctor shortage of up to 90,000 doctors in the next 10 years, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Yet 95 percent of Americans live within five miles of a pharmacy, many of which have extended hours, some even 24 hours a day. And pharmacists consistently rank among America’s most trusted health professionals, the release states.

Florida’s pharmacists are now among the state’s most accessible providers of life-saving vaccines, in addition to chronic disease management and preventive medicine, like health screenings for diabetes, heart disease, blood pressure and bone density.