A bill sponsored by Queens state Senator Toby Ann Stavisky and Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman to help protect some of the state’s most medically underserved communities passed in the state Legislature last week.
The bill will significantly increase the number of vaccinations licensed pharmacists are allowed to administer, by reversing decades long restrictions that made access to other inoculations extremely difficult for many rural communities and communities of color.
“New York and New Hampshire are the only two states that do not allow licensed pharmacists to administer all vaccines approved by the CDC,” Stavisky said. “In many rural low-income communities, the pharmacists provide the best access to these vital services. It is time New York joins the rest of the country, so that all New Yorkers have the opportunity to protect themselves and their families from these preventable diseases.”
According to the lawmakers, COVID-19 exposed a troubling truth: low-income New Yorkers, as well as those in rural areas, lack access to healthcare.
Studies have shown that pharmacist-provided immunizations substantially increase overall immunization rates, because people intuitively trust their local pharmacist. Stavisky and Hyndman’s legislation will allow licensed pharmacists to administer all vaccines approved by the CDC, which will help reduce morbidity and mortality rates across the state by preventing these diseases.
“Access to healthcare should be a basic human right and this pandemic has brought to light the inequities in our healthcare system,” Hyndman said. “In many of our Black and brown communities, local pharmacists are the forefront of the immediate route to care. This legislation is a step in the right direction towards addressing this social justice issue and creating equity for all.”