California Pharmacy Board Publishes Notice on Pharmacists Initiating and Administering Vaccines

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By Sarah Dahm

On October 8, 2021, the Board of Pharmacy (Board) published notice of its intent to amend section 1746.4 of Title 16, Division 17 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR) to permanently waive a requirement of pharmacists to notify each patient’s primary care physician of vaccine administration, if specified conditions are met.

According to the initial statement of reasons, the proposed regulations are the Board’s efforts to permanently amend section 1746.4 of the CCR, which outlines the vaccine reporting responsibilities of various healthcare providers, including pharmacists. The initial statement of reasons further states that the proposal will permanently remove the 14-day mandatory reporting requirement to each patient’s primary care provider, as the notification is duplicative and creates additional workload for pharmacists when the vaccination information is available through the immunization registry of the California Department of Public Health. Under the proposed regulation, pharmacists must continue reporting vaccine administration in the immunization registry of the California Department of Public Health. The initial statement of reasons also clarifies that the reporting requirement to notify a pregnant patient’s prenatal care provider will remain due to the time-sensitive nature of medical treatment for pregnant patients.

The proposed text states that at the request of a patient, a pharmacist shall notify each patient’s primary care physician and that a pharmacist must complete one hour of continuing education focused on immunizations and vaccines from an approved provider once every two years. At its July 28-29, 2021 teleconference meeting [Agenda Item 8A], the Board opened discussion for this regulatory amendment to section 1746.6 and voted to extend the waivers and to initiate this rulemaking action regarding administering vaccines.

The public comment period is open from October 8, 2021, to November 22, 2021.

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