Florida Should See Increased Vaccination Rates for Shingles, Pneumonia Under New Law
Here are a few statistics that should be of interest to everyone:
- Older Americans and children are among those most likely to catch pneumonia.
- One in three Americans will eventually suffer from shingles at some point in their life.
- That are 50,000 severe cases of pneumonia each year.
- …And the big kicker: only 11 percent of the population gets vaccinated against shingles and less than half of all Hispanics and African Americans over the age of 65 are vaccinated against pneumonia.
Until this year, Florida, a state known for having a high population of older Americans, was one of only a handful of states that didn’t allow pharmacists to administer pneumonia and shingles vaccines. However, as of July 1, a new law made access to these vaccines just a little easier by allowing qualified and trained pharmacists to administer those vaccines. And even better, Florida’s elderly population, particularly those in minority groups, should benefit from the expanded access to care.
There’s a shortage of physicians in both urban and rural areas, so the convenience of being able to get vaccinated when a patient goes to pick up their medication is one creative way to deliver health care. The added convenience of being able to be vaccinated while waiting to pick up medications should also help to increase the number of Floridians who get vaccinated against those diseases.
One only needs to look to Florida’s increased flu vaccination rates to understand the big win for Floridians— since 2007 when pharmacists were permitted to administer the flu vaccine, there’s been a marked increase in flu vaccinations and a corresponding decrease in hospitalizations due to complications from the flu.
Read more: Jeff Johnson: New law makes vital vaccines easy to get