Pharmacies can give more immunizations under new law, including COVID-19 vaccine

Legislative Gazette photos by Nicolas George

On November 2, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation S.4807-a/A.6476 which increases the number of immunizations a licensed pharmacist can administer to patients who are 18 and older.

Under the new legislation, pharmacists can administer vaccines recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for hepatitis A and B, human papillomavirus, measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella. 

The new law also allows licensed pharmacists to administer the COVID-19 vaccine, permanently.

“Immunizations are the best tool at our disposal for protecting public health and we must implement every sensible measure to make vaccines widely available,” Hochul said. “With this new law, we are expanding the locations where New Yorkers can go to get vaccines to protect their own health – and the health of their communities.”  

Currently the law allows pharmacist in New York to administer immunizations for influenza to adults and children, COVID-19, pneumococcal, acute herpes zoster, meningococcal, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis disease, as well as medications required for emergency treatment of anaphylaxis, to adults. 

This new legislation expands the list of immunizations that pharmacists can give to adults. 

The law also stipulates that pharmacies must report the immunizations to the State Department of Health.

The governor and the bill sponsors — Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman and Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky — said pharmacist-provided immunizations increase overall immunization rates.

“Access to health care should be a basic human right and COVID-19 has brought to light the many inequities in our healthcare system,” Hyndman said. “In many of our Black and brown communities, local pharmacists are the immediate and most accessible route to care.”