Fla. pharmacists will administer pneumonia, shingles vaccines

Florida Governor Rick Scott has approved a plan allowing pharmacies to administer pneumonia and shingles vaccines to those looking for treatments when a prescription has been given.

The new Florida law adds the state to a group of 45 other states that have already approved pharmacists for the administration for pneumonia and/or shingles vaccines. The Pharmacy Vaccine bill requires patients to get prescriptions from their doctors but they can get the shot at a local pharmacy, WFSU reports.

"When you get out into rural counties or low-income areas, there's not always a medical facility that has a doctor willing to vaccinate against pneumonia and shingles," Kevin Cate, a spokesman for Pharmacy Choice and Access Now, said, according to WFSU. "You may have to drive 20-30 miles, and for some people, especially in a tough economy, that's a barrier to quality healthcare."

Pharmacists in Florida already have the ability to give patients flu vaccinations.

Approximately 70 percent of Floridians 65 years of age and older received vaccinations against pneumonia in 2010. Pneumonia can be especially dangerous for the elderly because their immune systems may have a more difficult time fighting infections of the lungs. Shingles, which can lead to painful blistering rashes, typically affects adults over the age of 60.