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​Pennsylvania Expands Authority of Supervised Pharmacy Interns to Administer Vaccines

Issued: December 8, 2020

Getting a flu shot is important every year, but this winter there is added urgency due to the coronavirus pandemic. An influenza vaccine reduces the risk of illness from the flu, which in turn helps to reduce the burden on our healthcare systems and conserves potentially scarce resources in the fight against COVID-19.

With the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths across the country, it is vital that a means of obtaining a flu vaccine be readily available without having to enter a facility that may have potentially large numbers of COVID-19 patients (doctor's office, hospital, etc.). Pharmacies, in partnership with other healthcare providers, are well positioned to increase access to vaccinations. With several COVID-19 vaccines expected to be available in the coming months, safe administration of vaccinations by trained and qualified healthcare professionals in settings such as pharmacies will be critical.

In Pennsylvania, registered pharmacy interns who have completed the required education and training are permitted to administer medications, biologicals and immunizations under the direct and immediate supervision of a licensed pharmacist. Currently, pharmacy interns can give vaccinations to anyone 18 years of age or older, and flu shots to individuals age 9 or older.

To provide a greater number of people with convenient, limited-contact access to flu shots, the Governor approved the Department of State's request to suspend the age restriction that limits intern-administered flu shots to those ages 9 and older. Instead, temporarily, pharmacy interns may administer any age-appropriate influenza vaccination to children 3 years of age and older.

To increase convenient access to COVID-19 vaccines as they become available, this waiver also authorizes pharmacy interns to administer COVID-19 vaccinations to persons who are at least 18 years of age, but only under the direct, immediate and personal supervision of a licensed pharmacist who holds an active authorization to administer injectable medications.

Before administering a vaccine for the first time, registered pharmacy interns who have completed the required education and training are required to notify the Board at in writing of their intent to proceed to administer vaccines under the provisions of this waiver and provide the Board with their supervising Pharmacist's name, license number and authorization to administer injectable medications number.

This waiver shall extend for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency, plus an additional 90 days after the emergency ends.