Starting this fall, a new law in New Hampshire will allow for optometrists to begin administering FDA-approved, non-ocular vaccinations to adult patients.
How does this expand ODs’ scope of practice?
Previously, New Hampshire optometrists have been limited in their scope via topically or orally—“to administer, prescribe or dispense any pharmaceutical product except for the diagnosis or treatment of disease or conditions of the human eye, adnexa or eyelid”
Now tell me about this bill.
First introduced in January 2023 as bipartisan legislation and passed by both the House and Senate by June 2023, Senate Bill (SB) 200 authorizes optometrists to administer the following vaccines to patients ages 18+:
What are the parameters?
Per the legislation, optometrists must also:
- Have at least $1 million of professional liability insurance coverage
- Hold active certification in basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation
- When designated by the patient, provide notice to a primary care provider of the vaccine administration
- Submit reports of any adverse reactions following vaccination to the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).
See the complete list here.
Was there any controversy with including COVID-19?
An amendment introduced into the state’s House in May 2023—which wanted to exclude mRNA vaccines for 2 years while ongoing research is conducted on the drug—nearly caused the bill to be passed without it.
However, a majority vote enabled COVID-19 vaccinations to be included in the new legislation.
What does the state’s optometric association think of this?
Glance reached out to the New Hampshire Optometric Association (NHOA) for comment.
NHOA President Erica Griffin shared her and other optometrists’ past frustrations from the pandemic on being underutilized during the COVID-19 vaccination pushes.“This new law is progress toward being allowed to use our skills and training for the greater benefit of our patients,” she stated.
So when does the law take effect?
Signed by New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu on Aug. 4, the law is effective as of Oct. 3, 2023.
And the bigger picture?
This is just the latest update regarding OD scope of practice legislation (see here for details on a recent Iowa law granting ODs access to anesthesia injection and here to learn about Florida’s rejection of the ‘Not a doctor’ bill).
Other legislation includes:
- Nebraska: LB 216 (introduced Jan. 10, 2023)
- Connecticut: Raised SB-899 (introduced Jan. 25, 2023)
- California: AB-765 (introduced Feb. 13, 2023)
- Massachusetts: Bill H.3606 (introduced March 9, 2023)
- Texas: HB 2324 (introduced March 9, 2023)
- Wisconsin: SB143 (introduced March 23, 2023)
- North Carolina: H576 (filed April 5, 2023)
- New Jersey: A-5445 (introduced May 15, 2023)
- New Jersey: S3841 (introduced May 15, 2023)
*Disclaimer: The information provided in this article does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, materials available herein are for general information purposes only.