With concerns about exposure to COVID-19, the pandemic has limited access to health care for many families.
“Through COVID, we saw major drops in childhood immunization rates,” said Cailey Locklair, the President of the Maryland Chain Drug Store Association.
Maryland Department of Health data showed a 56 percent drop in childhood immunizations when comparing April 2019 and April 2020. The CDC also found sharp declines nationwide.
So in August, a federal order authorized licensed pharmacists to administer any FDA-approved vaccine to children 3 years and older.
Now, bills moving through the state legislature would continue that order until the summer of 2023, expanding access to vaccines at pharmacies.
“Maryland law only allows us [pharmacists] to at the age of 7 and above with a prescription,” said Locklair.
Locklair said this bill would help the many families without primary care physicians.