State senate passes law allowing pharmacists to administer COVID-19 vaccine

People shop in a Walgreens pharmacy in Brooklyn during the coronavirus outbreak, May 20, 2020. (Photo: Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY)

A bill allowing New York pharmacies to administer a vaccine for the novel coronavirus was passed in the state Senate on Wednesday.

The bill, sponsored in the state Assembly by Amy Paulin, authorizes licensed pharmacists to administer an FDA-approved vaccine for COVID-19  90 days after agency approves the vaccine. The legislation also requires that state Commissioners of Health and Education to jointly certify that allowing pharmacists to administer the vaccine would be in the best interest of public health.

“A whole generation of New Yorkers now knows what it’s like to live through a pandemic without a vaccine for protection: more than 23,000 of our neighbors have lost their lives, and millions are facing economic devastation. We need to do everything possible to end the carnage and find a cure,” said state Senator Brad Hoylman, a sponsor of the bill, in a statement. “That’s why it’s crucial we make a COVID-19 vaccine widely available at pharmacies, where many low-income New Yorkers get their health care. Standing up for public health and science isn’t easy—but it’s always the right thing to do. “

There are over 90 vaccines to the novel coronavirus currently being developed. More than 90% of Americans live within five miles of a pharmacy, according to the American Journal of Managed Care.

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