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Health News Florida

Vaccine Access Expands At Pharmacies

Florida needs more specialized nurses because more than half leave the state.
Florida needs more specialized nurses because more than half leave the state.
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Credit WMFE

Floridians will be able to receive more vaccines at their local pharmacies under a law that takes effect Wednesday.

Pharmacists are already able to administer vaccines that fight some viruses, like influenza and shingles, but the new measure (HB 279) would add several others, including shots targeted at measles, mumps and rubella; tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (or whooping cough); and human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted disease that can cause cancer.

The new law will also allow pharmacy interns to be certified to give vaccines.

"The one way to ensure that more people receive needed vaccinations is to make it more convenient, and this legislation increases that access and will help keep all residents and visitors safe and healthy," said Senate Health Policy Committee Chairman Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, in a statement calling attention to the new law.

CORRELL'S ATTORNEYS SEEK TO KEEP STAY IN PLACE

A convicted killer who once again faces the prospect of execution asked the Florida Supreme Court not to lift a stay put in place while the U.S. Supreme Court considered a challenge to the three-drug cocktail used in Florida and several other states.

The federal court rejected that challenge Monday, saying that Oklahoma prisoners failed to prove that the use of the drug midazolam, the first of the three-drug lethal cocktail used also used in Florida, "entails a substantial risk of severe pain."

That prompted Attorney General Pam Bondi to quickly ask the Florida justices to allow the state to move forward with the execution of Jerry William Correll.

But in a filing Tuesday, Correll's attorneys pointed to another case before the U.S. Supreme Court that deals specifically with Florida's death penalty. That case focuses heavily on Florida's lack of a requirement that juries be unanimous in recommending imposition of the death penalty.

The appeal also focuses on Florida not requiring juries to be unanimous in finding what are known as "aggravators" that justify death sentences.

"If this Court vacates the stay of execution that is in place, Correll may be executed and later found to have been sentenced under an unconstitutional death penalty sentencing scheme," says the Tuesday filing by Correll's attorneys.

The lawyers also argue that the stay should remain in place until the time has expired for the Oklahoma inmates to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to rehear their case.

FLORIDA JOINS LAWSUIT AGAINST EPA'S CLEAN WATER RULE

Florida joined a multistate lawsuit Tuesday against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' adoption of a rule that expands federal pollution controls.

The lawsuit, filed in a federal district court in Georgia, contends that the technical "Clean Water Rule: Definition of Waters of the United States" supplants states' constitutional rights to govern their own waters.

The lawsuit claims the rule is "the latest and most significant overreach" by the two agencies against state rights. The "expanded definition would have a unique and tremendous impact on Florida specifically, given our state's vast amount of wet lands and agriculture," according to a news release from Bondi's office. "We cannot allow Floridians to bear the brunt of these types of costly and burdensome federal regulations, which would have a significant negative impact on local government, business and households all across our state," Bondi said in the release.

Bondi received support for taking part in the lawsuit from Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and the H2O Coalition, which is led by the business advocacy group Associated Industry of Florida. The EPA contends the rule is intended to clarify the water bodies that fall under the anti-pollution provisions of the 1972 Clean Water Act.

"While we can't comment on the lawsuit, it's important to remember that EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finalized the Clean Water Rule because protection for many of the nation's streams and wetlands had been confusing, complex, and time-consuming as the result of Supreme Court decisions in 2001 and 2006," the EPA said in a release. In announcing the rule on Saturday, the EPA declared the rule to be "grounded in law and the latest science," and said it doesn't create new permitting requirements for agriculture.

Florida joins Georgia, West Virginia, Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, South Carolina, Wisconsin and Utah in the lawsuit. Kentucky is the only state among those filing the suit with a Democrat as state attorney general.

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