State laws limit flu shot access for children, health experts say

Many states restrict pharmacies from giving flu shots to children, which hinders their access to the vaccine and contributes to low coverage rates, health experts told CNN.

Thirty states have age restrictions for children receiving flu shots at a pharmacy, while three states — Florida, Vermont and Connecticut — prohibit the practice. Seventeen states have no age requirements for pharmacy-based flu shots.

Public health experts claim these restrictions create unnecessary barriers for parents seeking to protect their children from the flu. Last season, about 42 percent of children did not receive the flu shot, according to the CDC.

Allowing parents to take their child to the pharmacy for a flu shot, rather than to a pediatrician's office, would boost vaccination coverage, health experts argue.

CNN noted the motivation behind these state laws is unclear, especially since the American Academy of Pediatrics supports administering flu shots to children in alternative care sites like retail pharmacies.

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