Matzie lauds pharmacy vaccination efforts, supports legislation to make temporary vaccine authority permanent

HARRISBURG, April 12 – At a Pharmacy Day rally today in Harrisburg, state Rep. Rob Matzie expressed gratitude to Pennsylvania’s pharmacy workers – who administered millions of children’s vaccines during the pandemic under a temporary authorization – and pledged support for legislation that would permanently authorize pharmacists, pharmacy interns and pharmacy technicians to provide childhood immunizations.

Matzie – who is co-chair of the bicameral, bipartisan Pharmacy Caucus – called the workers a “literal lifeline” and praised their commitment throughout the pandemic.

“All across Pennsylvania, and especially in the southwest, pharmacies are often the only in-person resource for critical healthcare services,” Matzie told the workers gathered on the Capitol steps.“ You are vital to your patients and their health. This has always been true, but never more so than during the pandemic. When crisis came, when times were dark, you stepped up. You stayed open and never closed.”

Matzie also said he would work to pass H.B. 1535 – legislation that would allow pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy interns to continue administering any immunization to children 3 or older after obtaining parental consent and completing specific training and education requirements.

“We all know – as you’ve proven time and time again – our pharmacies can safely, effectively and conveniently administer vaccines and provide access in nearly every corner of our commonwealth,” Matzie told workers at the rally, which was organized by the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association.

Pharmacies received temporary authority to administer child vaccines in early 2020, at the start of the pandemic, under a declaration to Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act. Since that time, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians and interns have administered an estimated 8.6 million shots. Passage of H.B. 1535 would make that federal PREP Act permanent.

Since taking office, Matzie has worked to safeguard the interests of consumers and small neighborhood pharmacies. His efforts were key to the recent passage of legislation to bring transparency to the practices of pharmacy benefit managers, which have been increasing drug costs and driving smaller pharmacies out of business.