Some pharmacists can provide privately purchased vaccines to adults, and from 1 April 2017, can also provide funded influenza vaccination to pregnant women and those aged 65 and over.
On 15 March 2017, PHARMAC announced that pharmacist vaccinators can provide funded influenza vaccine: Decision to fund the provision of influenza vaccine in pharmacies.
Pharmacist vaccinators must:
- complete the vaccinator requirements as outlined in Appendix 4 of the current online version of the Immunisation Handbook before they start providing immunisation services
- provide services in accordance with the Immunisation Standards in Appendix 3 of the current online version of the Immunisation Handbook
- meet the National Standards for Vaccine Storage and Transportation for Immunisation Providers 2017, including achievement of Cold Chain Accreditation
- use the web application ‘Immunise Now’ to record and send notification to the individual’s general practice within two working days that they have been immunised against influenza
See the Influenza Immunisation Fact Sheet for Pharmacists for more information.
Background to pharmacist vaccination
In 2011 a number of pharmacists applied to become authorised vaccinators. As a result, the Ministry reviewed existing standards and processes to see if they needed to be changed for pharmacists.
After consulting with stakeholders, the Ministry decided that changes to existing standards and processes were unnecessary. Trained pharmacists would be able to vaccinate against influenza. However, they would only be able to provide privately purchased influenza vaccines. This was consistent with the Medicine Regulations and the guidelines in the Immunisation Handbook 2011. The current regulations and standards for pharmacist vaccinators are set out in Appendices Three and Four of the current online version of the Immunisation Handbook.
In December 2012, the Ministry met with stakeholders to review and agree on recommendations for updated pharmacist guidelines. The final recommendations can be found in the meeting minutes: Delivering the Flu Immunisation Programme in 2013.
A discussion paper was sent to stakeholders prior to the meeting: Pharmacist vaccinators delivering flu vaccination in 2013. The paper included:
- draft recommendations for updating the guidelines
- 2012 pharmacy vaccination programme evaluation
- Medsafe’s reclassification of the influenza vaccine (see the Minutes of the May 2012 Medicines Classification Committee Meeting on the Medsafe website).
The Ministry prepared the following documents to support pharmacists for the 2012 Influenza Immunisation Programme:
- Guidelines for pharmacists wanting to offer influenza immunisation in 2012 (PDF, 20 KB)
- Questions and answers – pharmacy vaccinations (PDF, 65 KB)
- Letter to Pharmacist Vaccinator Stakeholders (PDF, 156 KB).
In 2015 and 2016, Waikato DHB ran a pilot programme allowing some community pharmacists to provide funded influenza immunisation to those aged 65 and over.