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Pinkin, Giblin, Jasey Bill Allowing Pharmacy Interns, Externs to Administer Vaccines Clears Assembly

Would Require Supervision of Licensed Pharmacist

A bill designed to help ease healthcare delivery by allowing pharmacy interns and externs to administer vaccines and injectable medications while gaining, under supervision, critical hands-on training, was approved 77-1-0 by the full Assembly Monday.

Although current state law allows licensed pharmacists to give immunizations to patients over age 18, and the influenza vaccine to patients seven and older, pharmacy interns and pharmacy externs are not allowed to administer vaccines to any patient. Similarly, current law allows a licensed pharmacist to administer certain injectable medications if the licensed pharmacist is certified and pre-approved by the New Jersey State Board of Pharmacy, but does not permit a pharmacy intern or extern to administer injectable medications.

The bill (A-342/A-343) would allow pharmacy interns and externs to administer vaccines, injectable medications, biologicals and immunizations to patients by injectable or needle free delivery methods, but only under the direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist. Pharmacy-based immunization services have increased influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations by millions nationwide since immunizations became more commonplace in the community pharmacy setting. Trained pharmacists have been administering vaccines in New Jersey for over a decade.

“While this bill looks to provide more options for patients needing vaccines and immunizations, they do not compromise the necessary education needed to administer them,” said the bill’s sponsor, Assemblywoman Nancy J. Pinkin (D-Middlesex). “Pharmacy interns and externs would need to meet the same requirements as pharmacists to administer them, specifically, being educated and qualified as determined by the Board of Medical Examiners. This is yet another positive step that we can take to help streamline the health care delivery process, because it allows us to serve patients and consumers more effectively and in a timely manner.”

The bill also reduces the age for pediatric flu immunizations to be administered without a prescription from an authorized provider from 12 to 10 years old, yet still requires consent from the patient’s parent or legal guardian.

“This bill allows patients to get the medication that they need under the care of a pharmacy extern or intern as well as a licensed pharmacist,” said Giblin (D-Essex, Passaic). “Such an environment of care is extremely beneficial for patients.”

“Pharmacists are often overwhelmed with patient volume,” said Jasey (D-Essex, Morris). “This bill provides a means of easing that load while not adversely impacting patient care.”

The bill will now go to the governor.