By Marc Kovac
Gov. John Kasich has signed an executive order allowing pharmacists to administer the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine to adults as part of efforts to prevent further outbreaks of the diseases in the state.
The Ohio Department of Health has reported more than 400 confirmed or probable cases of mumps in 18 counties, including 340-plus in Franklin County. Many of the cases have been linked to an outbreak at Ohio State University in Columbus.
About 250 cases of measles have been reported in six counties, including 36 in Ashland, 36 in Holmes and one in Wayne, according to the Ohio Department of Health. That outbreak has been traced to a group of unvaccinated Ohioans who traveled to the Philippines.
Pharmacists already have authority under state law to provide shots to adults for pneumonia, tetanus, hepatitis, meningitis, diphtheria, influenza and pertussis.
The state pharmacy board is pursuing a rule change to add the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine to that list for anyone 18 years and older.
Kasich’s executive order signed Monday declares an emergency and implements the rule change immediately.
“The [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] states that the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine is one of the best ways to prevent the measles and mumps,” the governor wrote in his executive order. “The CDC also notes that the MMR vaccine has been in use for more than three decades in the United States, and reports of serious adverse events following vaccination have been extremely rare.”