Parents face flu vaccination roadblock in Texas



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Posted on January 14, 2013 at 9:08 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 16 at 10:28 AM

North Texas families trekking into local pharmacies for a round of flu shots are getting a dose of unwelcome news.

According to Texas law, pharmacists are prevented from giving the flu vaccine to children age seven or younger.

That came as a shock to Beth Sheehan, who showed up at a Dallas-area pharmacy with her five-year-old son.

“They said they couldn’t give it,” Sheehan said.

It put the mother of three in a difficult spot, because her pediatrician wasn’t ordering any additional vaccine, and she said most of the clinics she researched were only accepting kids who were uninsured or on Medicaid.

“It’s frustrating and really annoying,” Sheehan said.

At pharmacies like Tom Thumb in Arlington, the 1997 law isn’t anything new. But longtime pharmacist David Hicks said some families have definitely been surprised.

“You can do mom and dad, and then one child but not the other... it does create an obstacle," Hicks said.

Tom Thumb pharmacists do their best to direct parents towards other resources and options. Hicks said the company’s vaccine supply is limited, but in stock at most Dallas-Fort Worth stores.

Other states have a similar law prohibiting pharmacist vaccinations of young children, but New York's governor has temporarily suspended the rules there because of the recent flu outbreak.

Texas pharmacy officials said Monday it’s unlikely anything like that will occur here.