Becoming a COVID-19 vaccinator

This year, New Zealand is undertaking its largest ever vaccination programme to deliver COVID-19 vaccines across the country. To support this, we need significantly more vaccinators than our regular vaccinator workforce.

For authorised vaccinators to be eligible to administer COVID-19 vaccines, they must first complete an additional online education module specifically about COVID-19 vaccines. The Immunisation Advisory Centre is the only provider to offer this training for the COVID-19 vaccine in New Zealand.

    The main pathways to becoming part of the COVID vaccinator workforce

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    Authorised and Provisional Vaccinators

    Access to our online COVID-19 vaccine courses is now open and free for all authorised and provisional vaccinators. You can register via our learning management system (IMAC Learning) to access our COVID-19 vaccine courses, keeping in mind that this education is in addition to provisional or full vaccinator education required for authorisation to vaccinate. 

    The Provisional Vaccinator Course (PVC) is available to a range of disciplines within the allied health sector, providing a pathway for registered health professionals who are interested in becoming a vaccinator, providing you with an accelerated method to train as a provisional vaccinator.

    Once training is complete, provisional vaccinators will also be authorised to administer MMR and influenza vaccinations to ensure we maintain key immunisation services. The provisional authorisation allows you to vaccinate anywhere in New Zealand. Your provisional authorisation will expire on 30 June 2022.  It is recommended that all provisionally authorised vaccinators work as part of a vaccination team, that includes experienced authorised vaccinators.

    A bridging course will be developed for provisional vaccinators wanting to become fully authorised to administer all National Immunisation Schedule vaccines or to become pharmacist vaccinators.

     

    Lapsed Vaccinator Status

    If you have completed a Vaccinator Foundation Course but you have let your vaccinator status lapse by not completing the required 2-yearly updates, please contact your local immunisation coordinator to discuss the requirements to renew or achieve vaccinator status. You do not necessarily need to do the PVFC. Once your vaccination status is renewed, you will be eligible to complete the COVID vaccine training once it becomes available to you.

     

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    Health Professionals with prescribing rights

    As the COVID-19 vaccine is a prescription medicine, those with prescribing rights already have authority to administer this medicine within their individual scope of practice. It is strongly recommended these individuals complete this course for GPs, medical specialists and nurse practitioners. This will ensure their knowledge and learning is up to date and current for a New Zealand setting. Access to this course is now freely available through IMAC learning.

    Upon registering for health professional training, you will be required to acknowledge that:

    • You are a Health Professional and have a current Annual Practicing Certificate (APC), and APC number.
    • You are a fully authorised vaccinator or provisionally authorised vaccinator, OR have prescribing rights through your professional registration. Please note working as a vaccinator under standing orders is not a sufficient prerequisite.
    • You agree to your LMS account, contact details and course status being shared with DHBs looking to recruit health workforce, as well as your data being used anonymously in MoH and DHB reporting.
    • Completing the course does not give you the authority to vaccinate. Authority is provided by provisional authorisation through the Immunisation Advisory Centre on behalf of the Ministry of Health, or by full authorisation through a Medical Officer of Health.
    • There is no guarantee of employment based upon the completion of this course.
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    “Non-practising” registered or retired health professionals

    Health professionals with expired Annual Practicing Certificates (APCs) who wish to contribute to the COVID-19 vaccination programme, are advised to register their interest with the Ministry of Health Hands Up database.. All retired health professionals and those with international training are encouraged to follow the same pathway and register for the Ministry of Health Hands Up database

     

     

    What else can I do to be prepared?

    If you are waiting for the next step on your training pathway, we encourage you to:

    • Complete our introductory guide to COVID-19 vaccination programme– This is a general interest guide, designed for health professionals. It provides information about the COVID-19 vaccine (mRNA-CV), the COVID-19 Vaccinator Education Course and IMAC’s role in the vaccination programme. There is no assessment or certificate provided—this is to assist you to quickly navigating some of the key information on our website that we hope you will find useful, prior to completing a Vaccinator Education Course.
    • Join our webinar series which covers important topics around the vaccine and the implementation process. Each webinar has limited space to attend live but will also have recordings available to allow greater access for busy health professionals.
    • Ensure that your CPR certificate is up-to-date. Check the requirements in Appendix 4 of the Immunisation handbook.