HANNON ANNOUNCES NEW LAW TO PERMIT PHARMACISTS TO ADMINISTER SHINGLES VACCINE
Law becomes effective October 16, 2012
“Shingles is a very painful skin rash, often with blistering, and which can occur in people who have had chicken pox at any point in the past,” said Senator Kemp Hannon (R-Nassau). “Shingles most commonly occurs in people 50 years old or older, people who have medical conditions that keep the immune system from working properly, or people who receive immunosuppressive drugs.”
The Center for Disease Control recommends a single dose of the shingles vaccine for people aged 60 and older, even if they've already had a bout of shingles. Since the majority of older Americans had chickenpox as children, millions of people are vulnerable to shingles.
“In an effort to increase the number of adults who receive the Shingles vaccine, a new law takes effect on October 16, 2012,” said Hannon. “This law allows pharmacists to administer the Shingles vaccine for adults when ordered by a patient’s physician or nurse practitioner. Those who wish to receive the Shingles shot will need to check to see if it’s covered by their health care provider.”
Permitting pharmacists to administer the vaccine is particularly important, since less than 10% of those who are indicated for the vaccine actually get it nationally. Under Medicare, the vaccine is covered as a pharmacy benefit, so for the primary population indicated for the vaccine, physicians often cannot be reimbursed for it.
“Shingles which develops on the face could damage the eyes, causing vision loss,” said Hannon. “With vaccination, unnecessary suffering and serious, long-term impacts can be prevented. Allowing pharmacists to administer the shingles vaccine will ensure that many more who should be vaccinated against Shingles will now be.”