Senate enacts Sen. Ingwersen bill to increase Mainers’ access to immunizations

Posted: June 12, 2023 | Health and Human Services, Senator Ingwersen

AUGUSTA – Today, the Maine Senate enacted a bill from Sen. Henry Ingwersen, D-Arundel. The bill, LD 1151, “An Act Concerning the Authority for Pharmacists to Administer Vaccines,” aims to increase Mainers’ access to immunizations.

Sen. Henry Ingwersen

“I am grateful for the support and collaboration I received from my colleagues in bringing this bill to fruition,” said Sen. Ingwersen. “Their dedication and commitment to improving healthcare accessibility in Maine have been instrumental in advancing this crucial legislation.”

LD 1151 will make it possible for pharmacists to administer flu and COVID-19 vaccines to children aged 3 and above, removing the current restriction that limits this service to children aged 7 and above. The bill also removes the prescription requirement for Mainers who have a primary care provider, allowing them to access FDA approved/CDC recommended vaccines without having to first obtain a prescription. This requirement, unique to Maine, has been a barrier to accessing vaccines at pharmacies, and the new bill aims to address this issue.

The bill also requires pharmacists to report to the patient’s physician within 72 hours and to the vaccine registry within three business days of administering a vaccine. While this is already common practice among pharmacists, this bill would codify this practice into statute, ensuring that it is a legal requirement.

The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Janet Mills, who has 10 days to sign the bill into law, veto it, or allow it to become law without her signature. If this bill becomes law, it would take effect Aug. 1, 2023.