The COVID-19 pandemic has placed an unprecedented strain on the health care system in Maryland, which has led to decreased access to health care for many patients and their families. Maryland pharmacists – who are already trusted resources in their local communities – have been a critical part of the frontline response to the pandemic and have stepped up to help ease the burden to the system.
But there is more that can be done to further empower pharmacists to improve access to care for patients in our state. To help combat the pandemic and future public health crises, legislators should support House Bill 1040 and Senate Bill 736 to expand pharmacist immunization authority to include the administration of all U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved vaccines.
The pandemic has limited access to routine health care for many across Maryland, especially the 150,000 Maryland residents living in rural communities who have long had less access to medical providers. However, there are more than 1,100 pharmacies and nearly 3,300 pharmacists licensed in the state of Maryland who can provide the necessary care that Maryland patients need. Expanding pharmacist vaccination authority would increase options for patients to receive recommended immunizations in safe medical settings.