Frequently Asked Questions
Administration of Immunizations
Effective July 1, 2015, a pharmacist who is certified by the State Education Department to administer immunizations is authorized to administer to patients 18 years of age or older, immunizing agents to prevent influenza, pneumococcal disease, meningococcal disease, acute herpes zoster (shingles), tetanus, diphtheria or pertussis disease, pursuant to either patient specific order or a non-patient specific order.
- Are the regulations allowing pharmacists to administer immunizations available online?
Yes, they can be found in Part 63 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education.
- Are all pharmacists authorized to administer immunizations?
No. Pharmacists must be currently registered and certified to immunize in NY in order to participate.
- How does a pharmacist become certified?
To become certified, a pharmacist must:
- be currently licensed and registered in NY
- provide evidence that an approved immunization course has been completed within the past three years
- provide evidence they are currently certified in Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) or Basic Life Support (BLS) (NOTE: “On-line” or “virtual” courses will not be accepted.
- submit a completed Pharmacist Immunization Certification Form with the $100 application fee
- Is there a specific immunization course that must be
Yes. The New York State Education Department (SED) and the Department of Health (DOH) have identified the American Pharmacists Association's (APhA) National Certificate Program for Pharmacists as the required course. The program is offered at most colleges of pharmacy and professional organizations in NY. In addition to the APhA certificate program, we will also accept completion of the Pharmacist Immunization Program from Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE)-accredited colleges of Pharmacy.
- Where are courses being offered?
Pharmacy professional associations and New York State colleges of pharmacy offer the 20-credit Certificate Program that is required. Contact information for these providers is available here.
- May certified pharmacists use course credits
toward their continuing education (CE) requirement?
Yes. The 20 credits (8 live/12 home study) for completing the Certificate Program and up to 5 live credits for completing CPR/BLS can be used toward the CE required of the registration period in which they are earned.
- Is the certification application form available online?
Yes. The PDF form to apply for certification to administer immunizations is available here ( 23 KB).
- How long will it take to process an application for
Certification applications will be processed in the order received, with every effort made to review and approve applications as quickly as possible. While it may take several days to receive the new registration certificate in the mail, the Office of Professions' online license verification system will reflect this new privilege on the day it is approved, and this will officially authorize a pharmacist to begin administering immunizations.
- What immunizations will certified pharmacists be able to administer?
Certified pharmacists will be able to administer influenza, pneumococcal, meningococcal, acute herpes zoster (shingles), tetanus, diphtheria or pertussis vaccinations to adults 18 years of age or older.
- From whom may a certified pharmacist accept prescriptions/orders
A pharmacist may accept a patient-specific prescription for an immunization from a physician or from a nurse practitioner. Likewise, a pharmacist may administer immunizations based on a non-patient specific order from a physician or nurse practitioner located within the same county, or from a physician or nurse practitioner from an adjacent county.
- What is allowed with a patient specific order versus a non-patient specific order?
A pharmacist may administer any of the following immunizations: influenza, pneumococcal, meningococcal, acute herpes zoster (shingles), tetanus, diphtheria or pertussis vaccinations to adults 18 years of age or older pursuant to a patient specific order.
A pharmacist may administer any of the following immunizations: influenza, pneumococcal, meningococcal, acute herpes zoster (shingles), tetanus, diphtheria or pertussis vaccinations to adults 18 years of age or older pursuant to a non-patient specific order provided the order is signed by a New York State licensed physician or nurse practitioner practicing in the same or adjoining county the pharmacist will be administering vaccine, and the immunization is in accordance with the most current Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP). A non patient specific immunization cannot be administered outside of ACIP guidelines, for example, the current ACIP guideline for herpes zoster only allows for administration to patients 60 years of age and older.
- Where can I find additional information about non-patient specific orders?
Additional information can be found on the Department of Health web site, located here.
- Where can I find the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) “Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule” that is required to be posted in the immunization area?
For the most current information, please refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, located here.
- Are certified pharmacists be able to administer the intranasal or the intradermal form of the influenza vaccine?
- Are certified pharmacists able to administer to children?
No. The law restricts administration to adults 18 years of age and older.
- What are the reporting requirements?
There are detailed reporting requirements outlined in the regulations. Please note that there is a separate reporting requirement for 18-year-old patients. By law, immunization of these patients must be reported to the Department of Health. As described in New York State Public Health Law 2168, pharmacists must:
• report all immunizations administered to persons less than 19 years of age to the New York State Immunization Information System (NYSIIS), for immunizations administered outside of New York City (NYC), or to the City Immunization Registry (CIR), for immunizations administered within NYC and
• report immunizations administered to persons aged 19 years and older to NYSIIS or the CIR upon consent of the patient. The New York State Immunization Information System (NYSIIS), operated by the Department of Health (DOH), has many resources available. We encourage every pharmacist to obtain access to this reporting mechanism through the Health Commerce System (HCS).
For more information on reporting to the Department of Health, please visit the NYSIIS Web site here. Pharmacists in New York City must report to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Further information is available here.
- Do pharmacists have to obtain professional malpractice insurance to administer immunizations?
Malpractice insurance is not required in law or regulation. However, it is clearly a responsible choice for practicing professionals. We recommend that each pharmacist discuss this matter with their malpractice insurance carrier and confirm that the carrier is aware of this change in the scope of practice of pharmacists in New York State.
- Can a pharmacist seeking licensure by endorsement who has been engaged in immunization programs in other states become certified in NYS?
Yes. A pharmacist becoming licensed by endorsement, who has taken an approved course and who has been actively engaged in the administration of immunizations in another jurisdiction may be certified to administer vaccination in New York State.
- Can pharmacy interns administer immunizations in New York State?
No. The law restricts administration to certified licensed pharmacists.
- How will the public know which pharmacists are certified to administer immunizations?
Each pharmacist certified to administer immunizations will receive a new registration certificate that will contain the prefix "I". Likewise, the online license verification system will also identify certified pharmacists that have immunization privileges.
- Does the Medicaid Program cover vaccinations?
Yes; for full details please refer to the Medicaid Updates on Immunization here .