Frequently Asked Questions
Administration of Immunizations
Effective October 16, 2012, legislation expanded the immunizing agents that a pharmacist can provide to include vaccinations to prevent acute herpes zoster (Shingles) pursuant to a patient-specific prescription or order by a physician or nurse practitioner.
- 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 and acute herpes zoster 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 influenza and pneumococcal immunizations based on a non-patient specific order from a physician or nurse practitioner located within the same county, or if a county has fewer than 75,000 residents, from a physician or nurse practitioner from an adjacent county.
- What is required to administer the acute herpes zoster vaccination?
A patient specific prescription from a physician or nurse practitioner is required to administer the acute herpes zoster immunization. The county where the prescriber practices is NOT relevant to patient-specific prescriptions for immunizations.
- Are certified pharmacists be able to administer the
intranasal or the intradermal form of the influenza vaccine?
- Are certified pharmacists able to administer to
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.
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 at www.nyhealth.gov/prevention/immunization/information_system/ .
Pharmacists in New York City must report to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Further information is available at www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/cir/index.html .
- 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 (reciprocity)
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
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 the Herpes Zoster Vaccine?
Yes; for full details you may contact that program directly at PPNO@health.state.ny.us.