Overcoming lockdowns and long distances for COVID-19 vaccinator education
As New Zealand went into COVID-19 lockdown in August 2021, the demand for COVID-19 vaccines and ongoing preparation of the workforce to deliver them soared.
Already at the ‘ramp-up’ stage of the vaccination rollout, it meant commitment to deliver workforce education was even more essential. Of course, it wasn’t entirely unexpected that plans needed to quickly change to fulfil practical training components so that the vaccination workforce could carry on with their important roles.
On September 1st, Midlands-based COVID-19 Immunisation Education Facilitator Catherine Tobin travelled to Coromandel town to deliver training (in full PPE) for new COVID-19 vaccinators working under supervision who would shortly be vaccinating at the GP clinic where they are employed [Coromandel Family Health clinic].
“We changed the format slightly so the first theory-based part was delivered via Zoom to decrease the amount of face-to-face time needed. But injection practice and role-playing needs to be done in person and so I travelled to the clinic made up of two GPs, two nurse practitioners, one registered nurse, a primary care assistant and the practice manager.”
Catherine explains that the COVID-19 vaccinator working under supervision training is specially focused on upskilling support staff to maximise capability and so it was the primary care assistant and the practice manager earning the qualifications needed to vaccinate in the practice, supported by the nurse practitioners as their supervisors.
“They were extremely grateful to have IMAC willing to travel and help them as there were no others in their vicinity to join up with for this education.”
Meanwhile others in the IMAC team continue to be involved in similar training right around the country, including many Zoom sessions and face-to-face clinical peer assessments (for those at the final stage of becoming authorised vaccinators). Many also answered the call to join their local vaccinating workforce when they had availability to support the current surge in demand for COVID-19 vaccination.