Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) Vaccinator Endorsement

How to qualify as a BCG vaccinator and the BCG endorsement process.

Please note: All previously-gazetted BCG vaccinators must complete BCG endorsement with their local Medical Officer of Health prior to 4 January 2019 in order to continue vaccinating.

Tuberculosis and BCG Online Course

The online course ‘Tuberculosis and BCG’ is now available through the Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) both for those seeking to update their knowledge and as a requirement for BCG endorsement. If planning to seek BCG endorsement, you must confirm eligibility with your local Medical Officer of Health BEFORE enrolling. The course takes 8 hours to complete and is followed by a clinical assessment component if not previously gazetted.  There is a small charge for the course.  

Changes in Tuberculosis legislation and the BCG vaccinator endorsement process

The Health (Protection) Amendment Act 2016 repealed the Tuberculosis Act 1948 and the Tuberculosis Regulations 1951. From 4 January 2017:

  • tuberculosis is notifiable under the Health Act 1956 instead of the Tuberculosis Act 1948
  • the requirements under the Tuberculosis Regulations 1951 to gazette approved BCG vaccinators no longer apply
  • all new BCG vaccinators are required to become authorised vaccinators under clauses 44A(1) and 44A(2) of the Medicines Regulations 1984 and then seek endorsement as a BCG vaccinator from their local Medical Officer of Health
  • all existing gazetted BCG vaccinators were given an initial national BCG vaccinator endorsement by the Ministry of Health for a two year period until 4 January 2019, after which they are required to seek regional BCG vaccinator endorsement from their local Medical Officer of Health.

Refer to the Ministry of Health website at Our Work>Immunisation for information on authorised vaccinators, including the protocol for authorisation and re-authorisation or refer to Appendix 4 (PDF, 184 KB) in the current online edition of the Immunisation Handbook.

All BCG vaccinators must at all times adhere to best practice as outlined in the Immunisation Standards for Vaccinators in the current online edition of the Immunisation Handbook.

New policy for BCG vaccinator endorsement (effective 4 January 2017)

Endorsement of new BCG vaccinators

To be endorsed as a new BCG vaccinator, the individual must apply to their local Medical Officer of Health and provide the following documented evidence that they:

  • are a current authorised vaccinator
  • have successfully completed a Ministry of Health-approved online BCG vaccination course
  • have completed, under clinical supervision (by a currently approved BCG clinical assessor – see below for details), a minimum of five BCG vaccinations, and have been assessed as competent by the clinical supervisor
  • have been nominated by their employer for endorsement as a BCG vaccinator.

BCG vaccinator endorsement is valid for two years from the completion of the BCG vaccinator training.

Qualifying criteria for BCG Clinical Assessors

BCG clinical assessors must be approved by the Medical Officer of Health. To qualify for approval, the assessor must currently be an authorised vaccinator who is both BCG-endorsed and employed as a BCG vaccinator.

Renewal of BCG vaccinator endorsement

To renew BCG vaccinator endorsement, the individual must apply to their local Medical Officer of Health prior to the expiry date and provide documented evidence that they:

  • are a current authorised vaccinator, and
  • have completed an online BCG vaccination update course.

Gazetted BCG vaccinators

All BCG vaccinators who were gazetted prior to 4 January 2017 were given a one-off initial national BCG endorsement by the Ministry of Health for a two year period, expiring 4 January 2019. 

Prior to 4 January 2019, these BCG vaccinators will need to apply to their local Medical Officer of Health to renew their BCG vaccinator endorsement if they intend to continue providing BCG vaccination. Refer to the requirements above for renewal of BCG vaccinator endorsement.

It is the BCG vaccinator’s professional responsibility to ensure they apply for regional endorsement.

BCG Vaccinator ceasing practise or practising in another region

Endorsed BCG vaccinators are approved regionally by Medical Officers of Health and must notify their Medical Officer of Health if ceasing practice or no longer practising in the region. Individuals wishing to practise in another region must be approved beforehand by the Medical Officer of Health, and provide the new local Medical Officer of Health with:

  • evidence of their current vaccinator authorisation and BCG endorsement in another health district, and
  • details of their proposed work in the district.

The Medical Officer of Health is then to notify the Ministry of Health’s Immunisation team of the cease/move so the BCG vaccinator register can be updated.

Ministry of Health BCG vaccinator register

The Ministry of Health's central register of gazetted BCG vaccinators will be retired 4 January 2019. Any new or previously-gazetted BCG vaccinators who wish to continue beyond 4 January 2019 will need to be confirmed as BCG-endorsed authorised vaccinators and notified to us as such by a Medical Officer of Health.

A new central Ministry register now captures all those BCG vaccinators notified to us at immunisation@health.govt.nz since 4 January 2017 only. 

Mantoux testing

The guidelines for tuberculin skin testing/Mantoux are currently being updated. For further details and a copy of the latest guidelines please see Technical Guidelines for Tuberculin Skin Test.

Access to BCG vaccine

  • The funded vaccine can only be ordered by public health BCG clinics
  • Eligible patients seeking BCG vaccine are to be referred to DHB public health programmes.
  • The vaccine is only to be administered to babies and children aged 0–5 that meet the eligibility criteria as per the PHARMAC Schedule (see the Health Ed website for details).

Further information on both TB and the BCG vaccine is also available in the Your Health – Tuberculosis guide and on the Immunisation Advisory Centre website.

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