Authorizes pharmacists and pharmacy techs to administer vaccines without a prescription, lowers patient age from 18 years to 3 years

State: ME
Bill Number: LD 1151 (SP 478)
Position: OPPOSE
Action Required: NONE
Status: Emergency ENACTED, Signed by Governor Janet Mills , effective 6/15/2023; Chapter 170

Legislation Details:

UPDATE: 6/15/2023 - LD 1151 was signed by the Governor Janet Mills on 6/15/2023. Effective date 6/15/2023. Chapter Number 170. View Enacted version HERE

UPDATE: 6/12/2023 - LD 1151 was Emergency Enacted, it passed the Senate by a 2/3 majority with the vote of 33 Yeas, 0 Nays on 6/12/2023. 

UPDATE: 6/8/2023 - LD 1151 was Emergency Enacted, it passed the House by a 2/3 majority with the vote of 111 Yeas, 14 Nays on 6/8/2023. 

UPDATE: 6/1/2023 - LD 1151 passed the House as amended by Senate Committee Amendment "A" and to be engrossed on 6/1/2023. 

UPDATE: 5/30/2023 - LD 1151 passed Second Reading in the Senate and passed on to Engrossment on 5/30/2023. The Senate's amendment causes LD 1151 to return to the House.

UPDATE: 5/25/2023 - LD 1151 was amended and passed First Reading in Senate, scheduled for 2nd Reading next legislative day. The Amendment Summary states that the amendment replaces the bill with the following changes: 

1. It changes the age of a person to whom a pharmacist may administer influenza vaccines without a prescription from a person 7 years of age or older to a person 3 years of age or older;
2. It authorizes a pharmacist to administer vaccines recommended by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to a person 18 years of age or older without a prescription and to a person 3 years of age or older and under 18 years of age with a prescription. Under current law, a pharmacist may administer other vaccines to a person 18 years of age or older with a prescription that states the vaccine is medically necessary; and
3. It requires a pharmacist to provide a written immunization record to the person immunized and to notify the person's primary care provider within 72 hours. Beginning August 1, 2023, the amendment also requires a pharmacist to notify the state immunization reporting system within 72 hours of administering a vaccine.
The amendment removes the provision in the bill that authorizes certain pharmacy technicians to administer vaccines under the supervision of a pharmacist.
The amendment also adds an emergency preamble and emergency clause to the bill.

The amendment makes a bad bill even worse by lowering the age of patients and removing pharmacy supervision over pharmacy technicians when administering vaccines. 

UPDATE: 4/14/2023 - LD 1151 is scheduled for a hearing in the Joint Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee on 4/19/2023 at 10:00 am in the Cross Building, Room 220. The agenda is here

UPDATE: 3/28/2023 - LD 1151 is scheduled for a hearing in the Joint Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee on 4/6/2023 at 1:00 pm in the Cross Building, Room 220.  For hearing info, click here.  Click blue "Earlier" box. 

LD 1151 was introduced and referred to the Joint Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee on 3/16/2023. It is sponsored by Senator Henry Ingwersen.

The bill expands the age of individuals to whom a pharmacist may administer a vaccine which is authorized by the FDA and recommended by the CDC from 18 years to 3 years or older. It lowers the age of a person to whom a pharmacist may administer influenza vaccines without a prescription from 7 years to 3 years of age. It authorizes pharmacy technicians to administer all vaccines a pharmacist can if under the supervision of a pharmacist. The bill removes the current requirement for the pharmacist to only administer vaccines with a valid prescription. 

Maine pharmacy technicians must be at least 18 years old and have either a high school diploma or equivalent, GED.

NVIC is opposed to this bill because it trivializes very real vaccine risks and serious reactions by allowing a pharmacy technician, perhaps with only a GED education, to administer possibly life-threatening vaccines to adults and children and young as 3 years old. 

Pharmacy technicians are not anywhere close to being health care providers and shouldn’t be giving vaccines, especially to young children. They do not have enough training about all the vaccines, risks, prescreening, contraindications, emergency interventions for reactions, reporting reactions to Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System, and advising parents and patients about the statute of limitations and instructions for filing a claim with the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

Vaccine Information Statements list many reasons why patients shouldn’t be vaccinated, and it is highly unlikely a pharmacy technician has the time to ask about all the reasons not to vaccinate in them.   

These are some of the reasons to not vaccinate that are recorded in federally required vaccine information statements that a pharmacist or pharmacy technician with limited training on vaccines is unlikely to catch:  

  • Will pharmacists or pharmacy technicians screen for things like allergic reactions to ingredients in the vaccine and are they going to cover all these ingredients of every vaccine?  
  • Will they check if a child is allergic to yeast (contraindication in HPV vaccine)?  
  • Are they going to perform an exam at the pharmacy and take the child’s temperature to make sure they don’t have a fever since fever is contraindicated for some vaccines in the VIS statements?  
  • Are they going to know if the child has a weakened immune system due to disease (such as cancer or HIV/AIDS), medical treatments (such as radiation, immunotherapy, steroids, or chemotherapy), if they have a history of seizures, if they have a parent, brother, or sister with a history of seizures, or if they have a parent, brother, or sister with a history of immune system problems?  
  • Will they screen if the child has a condition that makes them bruise or bleed easily, if they might be pregnant (some vaccines cannot be given in pregnancy), or if they are taking aspirin?  
  • Will they know if a child has recently had a transfusion or if they have ever had Guillain-Barre syndrome post vaccination?  
  • Will they know if a child has had a serious or a life-threatening reaction to any vaccine?  

Most pharmacies and grocery stores don’t have lifesaving defibrillators like they do in doctors’ offices when life-threatening reactions to vaccines occur. Will pharmacists or pharmacy technicians have the equipment and training to be able to tell the difference between cardiac arrest, anaphylaxis, fainting, and act accordingly to save the lives of children who react at the time of vaccination? 

This bill undermines the doctor patient relationship and removes critical health history screenings prior to vaccination. Neither pharmacists nor less qualified pharmacy technicians have the necessary medical history of an infant or child or the time to prescreen for contraindications based on a child’s personal and family history and unique heath needs prior to vaccination. Vaccines, just like all pharmaceutical products, can cause injury and death in some people. As of January 1, 2023, The United States Government has paid out more than $4.9 billion dollars to vaccine victims through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP)As of 1/13/2023, There were 43,431 deaths and 2,407,011 adverse events reported to the US government's Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System. Clearly, there are dangers associated with vaccines that should not be ignored with increasing those who can administer them.  

There is no doubt the pharmacy groups will support this bill, but it presents a serious conflict of interest because of the financial benefits they will receive if this bill passes.  

America’s biopharmaceutical research companies are developing 258 vaccines.  The U.S. Vaccine Market alone was $36.45 billion in 2018, and is expected to reach $58.4 billion by 2024 and pharmacies stand to increase their profits substantially by allowing pharmacy technicians to put those shots into customers.   

This conflict is compounded by the fact that neither Pharmacists nor pharmacy technicians will have liability for the injuries and deaths caused by the vaccines they administer to children. Vaccines administrators are shielded from liability for vaccine injuries and deaths through the combination of the law passed by Congress in 1986 establishing the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program and the 2011 Supreme Court Decision BRUESEWITZ ET AL. v. WYETH LLC, FKA WYETH, INC., ET AL. - text, status, and history of LD 1151 (SP 478)