Florida residents can now go to their local pharmacies to receive more medical vaccinations.
Florida House Bill 279 signed by Governor Rick Scott on June 10 went into effect on Wednesday. The new state law is offering new vaccinations at neighborhood pharmacies instead of only at the doctor’s office.
Influenza and shingles vaccines are two vaccinations already available at neighborhood pharmacies. But now patients can receive vaccinations for Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, TDAP (Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis, also known as whooping cough), Varicella, MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella), and Meningococcal and Pneumococcal bacterial infections.
Ruth Cuis, a Wal-Mart pharmacist from Orlando Florida said “This thinks it’s a good decision made by the governor a decision that put patients first and acknowledges some of the struggles of everyday Americans.”
The Senate Health Policy Committee Chairman, Aaron Bean said in the press release issued on Wednesday that the expanded list of vaccinations is important to the welfare of the communities.
He said, “The inability of Floridians to receive vaccinations puts them, their family members and the wider community at risk.”
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges in the years to come the nation and Florida will face a shortage of doctors. The association reports only 90,000 more doctors are expected in the next decade.
Recent surveys have shown that 95 percent of patients live within five-to-ten miles of a pharmacy, which makes it easier to receive vaccinations there rather than to drive out to a doctor’s office.
Schamma Maignan, a first-year student at Tallahassee Community College from Orlando Fla., said “Being a college student without a car, the pharmacy is nothing but a bus ride away. So this is good news for students like me.”
As the number of uninsured Americans continues to decline, there are still a large amount of uninsured Americans unable to see a primary doctor to receive medical attention.
“Lucky for me, I have healthcare coverage and a primary health-care provider, but I have some friends that can’t go to the doctor’s office freely. So this will benefit some people that I know.” said Shaneeka Walwyn, a fourth-year accounting student from Orlando, Fla.
The U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Information recently reported that 15 percent of American does not own vehicles. For Floridians that fall within that percentile it makes driving to the doctor’s office to receive vaccinations very difficult.
In addition to providing vaccinations, pharmacies provide services like chronic disease management and preventive medicine, as well as diabetes, heart disease, blood pressure and bone density screenings.
While they are not a substitute, pharmacies are becoming accessible primary health care providers for a growing number of Floridians.