Senate unanimously approves Sen. Ingwersen bill to increase Mainer’s access to immunizations

Posted: May 31, 2023 | Health and Human Services, Senator Ingwersen

AUGUSTA – On Thursday, May 25, the Maine Senate gave unanimous approval in an initial vote to a bill from Sen. Henry Ingwersen, D-Arundel. The bill, LD 1151, “An Act to Decrease Barriers for Preventive Health Services by Allowing Pharmacy Technicians to Administer Vaccines,” aims to increase Mainer’s access to immunizations.

“This bill would act as a major step forward in the battle against preventable diseases in Maine,” said Sen. Ingwersen. “By removing the prescription requirements for adults, and allowing pharmacists to administer vaccines to younger children, we would be shoring up Mainers’ access to care, and protecting communities against easily preventable diseases.”

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 faces further votes before the Senate and the House.