Albany, NY – Last night, New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law State Senator Brad Hoylman’s and State Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell’s legislation to expand access to meningitis vaccines in the midst of an alarming and deadly outbreak of the disease among men who have sex with men (MSM).
According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), 22 cases of meningitis among MSM have been reported since 2010, including 17 cases since 2012, seven of which were fatal. The legislation (S.4881A/A.7324A) authorizes licensed pharmacists who have received additional certification, as well as certified nurse practitioners, to administer meningococcal vaccinations to adults 18 years of age and older.
“I am grateful to Governor Cuomo for signing this potentially life-saving bill into law,” said Senator Hoylman. “Allowing pharmacists to administer the meningitis vaccine will help us stop a wider outbreak of this deadly disease, which had evolved into a serious public health concern for New York’s LGBT community. The best way to prevent illness and death from meningitis is to be vaccinated. As we've seen with the flu vaccine, when pharmacists have the authority to administer a vaccine, immunization rates increase.”
Senator Hoylman continued, “I’m thankful to my colleagues in the State Senate, including Senators Kenneth LaValle and Kemp Hannon, for recognizing the urgency of this bill and particularly to New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley and DOHMH and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn for their help in securing its passage. I’m also thankful to my friends and colleagues Daniel O’Donnell, the bill’s lead sponsor in the Assembly, and Assembly Higher Education Committee Chair Deborah Glick.”