New York City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene today has asked the law makers of the state to pass a bill allowing pharmacists to give flu and pneumonia shots.
Health officials are calling for the legislation giving pharmacists the authority to give flu shots because of the widespread prevalence of influenza in New York City. Reports show that there are more than 1,000 flu-related visits to emergency rooms each day.
About 20 percent of the current flu vaccine supply is unused. The health department hopes to get more of the population in New York City vaccinated, once the bill is passed.
"Influenza and pneumonia kill more than 2,000 New Yorkers every year," said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the health commissioner.
"Many of these deaths are preventable. By expanding access to these vaccines, we will save lives. If our legislators take action on this measure now, we can look forward to less illness and death next year," Dr. Freiden added.
Already 47 states in the US have adopted the bill allowing pharmacists to give flu and pneumonia vaccines. Studies show that vaccination rates have tripled in those states.