Photo:Fourteen children died of the flu in Florida during flu season.
Economic Backbone - Pediatrics
Effort to expand flu vaccinations dies in the Florida Senate
In the flu season that ended in the spring, thousands of Florida children got the flu and 14 died.
Most of those who died hadn’t gotten a flu shot. In a recent year, only 46.1% of Florida minors got a flu shot, placing Florida second only to Wyoming in the lowest percentage nationally. (Rhode Island led the nation at 76%.)
One of the most convenient channels for adults to get flu shots — the pharmacist at the drugstore or supermarket — isn’t open to children in Florida. The state is one of three that prohibit pharmacists from giving flu shots to minors. Some states allow it for everyone, while the rest allow it only after a certain age.
The Florida Pharmacy Association supported a measure in the Legislature this year to let the state’s 13,115 licensed pharmacists and 2,627 pharmacy interns give flu shots to everyone over age 7. The provision was part of a broader bill that would let pharmacists and pharmacy interns give immunizations to anyone over 7. The bill passed the House with only one nay vote but failed in the state Senate.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says it prefers children be vaccinated at their primary doctor so that health care and records are in one place. But since it wants vaccines widely used, it says children who get flu shots elsewhere should be given the paperwork to file with their pediatricians.
Read more in Florida Trend's August issue.
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