Vaccinating workforce

To help support our immunisation programmes, we are developing our vaccinating workforce to keep New Zealanders safe and well.

Our vaccinating workforce is made up of general practitioners, nurses, midwives and pharmacists. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, additional vaccinators were authorised to help rapidly vaccinate Aotearoa against COVID-19. We are now building on the success of that programme to develop a new vaccinating role (Vaccinating Health Worker) to support our regular immunisation programme.

Vaccinating roles

There is a range of vaccinating roles that help deliver our immunisation programmes across the motu. Each has different pathways, training and authorisation requirements.

In this section:

Fully Authorised Vaccinators

Fully Authorised Vaccinators are registered health professionals who have completed full vaccinator training and are authorised by their local medical officer of health. They can deliver vaccines listed on the New Zealand Immunisation Schedule and any other vaccines that are part of an approved immunisation programme to all eligible age groups.

If you are a Fully Authorised Vaccinator, to maintain your authorisation you must adhere to the requirements in the Immunisation Handbook 2020, including:

  1. Complete your update training
  2. Have a current Annual Practising Certificate
  3. Have a valid and relevant CPR certification 

To practice in your region, please apply to your local Medical Officer of Health for authorisation. Check the list of Public health contacts to find your region’s contacts.

Pharmacist Vaccinators

Pharmacists are able to vaccinate under the Medicines Regulations after completing full vaccinator training and a clinical assessment. We recommend they inform the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand once they have completed the training and assessment requirements.

If you are a Pharmacist Vaccinator, you must maintain all documentation and evidence that demonstrates you meet the Ministry’s Immunisation Standards for Vaccinators, as outlined in the Immunisation Handbook. This includes evidence of your:

  1. Clinical assessment
  2. Current Annual Practising Certificate
  3. Valid and relevant CPR Certification
  4. All training courses, including biennial Vaccinator Update Course

Provisional Pharmacist Vaccinators

Provisional Pharmacist Vaccinators are registered Pharmacists, Pharmacist interns or fourth-year pharmacy students who have completed training and received provisional authorisation. They can administer Influenza vaccines (3 years and older) and MMR (16 years and older) vaccines, plus COVID-19 vaccines if they can show they have completed the required training.

All current PPVs are authorised for 2 years from the date of their authorisation letter.

The provisional pharmacist vaccinator learning pathway is no longer available. The last day for applying for authorisation was 30 September 2022.

Provisional Vaccinators

Provisional Vaccinators (PVs) are registered health professionals who have completed their training and received provisional authorisation. They can administer influenza and MMR vaccines, plus COVID-19 vaccines if they provide evidence showing they have completed the required training.

All current PVs are authorised for 2 years from the date of their authorisation letter.

The provisional vaccinator learning pathway is no longer available. The last day for applying for authorisation was 30 September 2022.

Vaccinating Health Worker

Background

During the initial rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations, the Ministry of Health established the COVID-19 Vaccinator Working Under Supervision (CVWUS) role.

This allowed healthcare workers such as kaiāwhina, pharmacy technicians, and overseas registered health workers, to deliver COVID-19 vaccines under supervision. This enabled us to vaccinate Aotearoa quickly and effectively, and it also brought in more Māori and Pasifika vaccinators to help their communities. The CVWUS role was only intended to be a temporary measure and finishes 1 June 2023.

Following sector consultation at the start of 2022, we have now established a Vaccinating Health Worker (VHW) role, which will build on the success of the CVWUS role, expanding it to cover a broader range of vaccines and age groups in the future.

Who can become a VHW?

You can become a VHW if you currently work in the health sector - for example, as a health care assistant, pharmacy technician or kaiāwhina - or have been trained as a health professional in New Zealand or overseas but do not currently hold a New Zealand practising certificate.

There are two ways to become a VHW:

  1. If you are already an authorised CVWUS, you can transition to become a VHW by undertaking further training.
  2. If you are not already a CVWUS, you can enter the learning pathway to become a VHW. 

VHW programme

There are two stages to the VHW role:

Stage 1: You will be able to administer COVID-19 (Pfizer) and the influenza vaccines for 12 years+ and vaccines for Human Papillomavirus (HPV9) and Tetanus, Diptheria and Pertussis (whooping cough) (Tdap) for 11 years+.

Stage 2: You will be able to prepare and administer all vaccines outlined in stage 1, including administering COVID-19 (Pfizer) and influenza to 5 years+, and also MMR for 5 years+. 

You need to be authorised by Te Whatu Ora/Health New Zealand and have gained experience at VHW Stage 1 before being nominated by your employer to apply for VHW Stage 2 training.

VHW training programme

The training covers a range of core learning topics mainly provided by the employer and vaccine-specific training provided by the Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC). An overview of the training for this role is available in the Vaccinating Health Worker: Capability Matrix (pdf, 133 KB).

The vaccine-specific training includes:

  • A series of online courses which can be delivered in a group setting, using the online content, or as a face-to-face workshop facilitated by IMAC. Please contact the local IMAC team member to explore this option.
  • Face-to-face practical training sessions at each stage
  • Observation and assessments in the workplace under the guidance of an authorised vaccinator with a minimum of 2 years' vaccinating experience.

Employers need to nominate their employee(s) to access the vaccine-specific training through IMAC.

More information on how to access training

Core learning topics include:

  • Te Tiriti o Waitangi, cultural awareness, and engaging effectively with Māori
  • Working with culturally and linguistically diverse communities
  • Working with people with disabilities
  • Communicating and interpersonal relationships
  • Health and safety, personal protection equipment (PPE), and infection prevention and control (IPC)
  • Ethics, privacy, and mental health
  • Health information /health literacy.

It is the employer’s responsibility to either deliver this core learning or enable access to it, as outlined above. Links to training modules that will support the core learning requirements are available below.

Employers will also ensure their employee(s) complete CPR and COVID-19 Immunisation Register (CIR) training.

Authorisation

Authorisation takes place at various points during VHW training.

In the VHW resources below there is a link that outlines which documents or information you need to provide when applying for authorisation.

Authorisation is valid for 2 years from authorisation letter. To maintain VHW authorisation you must meet requirements in the Immunisation Handbook including any update training required (if it has been more than 2 years since authorisation) and holding a valid and relevant CPR certification.

VHW resources

  • Available Core Online Learning Links (coming soon)
  • VHW Learning Pathways (coming soon)
  • VHW Training and Authorisation Pathway (coming soon)

VHW Clinical Supervisor training

It is important that we have experienced and confident registered health professionals providing direct clinical supervision for VHWs. A VHW Clinical Supervisor will:

  • be a New Zealand registered healthcare professional
  • be a fully authorised vaccinator or provisional vaccinator
  • have relevant, recent vaccination experience
  • have been nominated as a suitable candidate to be a supervisor by your employer
  • have completed VHW supervisor training (this is highly recommended).

A VHW Clinical Supervisor must have a full understanding of the scope of the VHW role, their education pathway, and the responsibilities of being a supervisor. 

We strongly recommend you complete the Course for Supervisors of Vaccinating Health Workers. This course is available from the IMAC Learning management portal and is free. To access the course, just log in to the IMAC LMS and add the course.

Applying for vaccinator authorisation

If you are applying to be a VHW, you will need to apply for authorisation with Te Whatu Ora — Health New Zealand.

Our portal allows you to apply online for vaccination authorisation and review your application and its status.

By creating an account, you will be able to sign in securely to apply for authorisation, upload or access your authorisation documentation, and final authorisation letter.

Step-by-step instructions on how to create an account and apply for authorisation can be accessed in this guide:

Create account/Login

To create a profile to apply for authorisation, please go to the Workforce Requests web portal.

Terms of Use

Terms of Use for the Workforce Requests web portal.

Privacy notice

When you submit an application for vaccinator authorisation, we’ll collect your name, contact information, location, and documentation required for your authorisation. To use the Workforce Request web portal, you must also have a My Health Account at level 1 confidence (a verified email address).

In registering your interest, you agree to your details being reviewed by the vaccination authorisation team within Health New Zealand and used for reporting purposes. We will securely hold and manage the information you provide to us. Only you and our vaccinator authorisation team will be able to view the documents you have uploaded onto the Workforce Request web portal.

For any further questions around the Workforce Request web portal, please email [email protected]

Contact us

Contact us if you need help with the workforce request solution. Our contact centre will be happy to help with any technical issues. If you have any questions about your authorisation, please contact the administration team via [email protected]

Copyright

Copyright in content on the Workforce Request web portal is owned by either the Ministry of Health on behalf of the Crown or its licensors. Visit My Health Account copyright for more information.

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