Pharmacists can give childhood shots, US officials say

NEW YORK (AP) — Pharmacists in all 50 states will be authorized to give childhood vaccinations this fall under a new federal directive.

The head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced the order Wednesday.

Alex Azar made the decision as part of the emergency powers he has during the U.S. coronavirus pandemic.

It effectively temporarily preempts pharmacy restrictions in 22 states.

Public health officials have been worried that vaccination rates would fall because doctors’ offices were closed by the pandemic.

The authorization allows state-licensed pharmacies to administer childhood vaccines without a doctor’s prescription.

Azar says pharmacists must first complete a training program, although many already have.

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