How do I become an authorised or pharmacist vaccinator?

You need to:

  • complete a vaccinator foundation course (VFC) with an online assessment,
  • hold an appropriate CPR certificate,
  • complete a clinical assessment, and
  • then apply to your local Medical Officer of Health for authorisation*.  

Authorisation may be given to provide National Immunisation Schedule vaccines to all age groups or restricted to older ages only (ie, deltoid administration only) depending on local requirements and scope of clinical assessment.  

*Pharmacist vaccinators are not required to apply to the Medical Officer of Health but should advise the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand that they have completed the above requirements. 

How do I register for a course? 

Have a look at the current courses (including registration instructions) or browse our workforce role pages. 

Currently we are running courses on a mixture of the old IMAC Learning platform and our new system Brightspace.

We offer online, face-to-face and flexible learning (mixture of online and face-to-face) vaccination foundation courses (VFCs) and updates.  

What is the difference between the flexible learning and the 2-day vaccinator foundation course? 

Both cover the same content but are delivered differently. The FLVFC involves working through online self-study over approximately 14-15 hours, followed by a 4-hour face-to-face tutorial and an online learning assessment. 

The 2-day VFC is held as a face-to-face tutorial over 2 full days followed by an online learning assessment.  

Completing a VFC is the first step towards attaining your vaccinator authorisation or pharmacist vaccinator status.  If you have previously completed a VFC:

  • but did not complete the authorisation process,
  • have let your authorisation lapse,
  • or did not complete the other requirements,   

please look at A4.1.6 of the Immunisation Handbook for guidance on whether you need to enrol again in a VFC or talk to your local immunisation coordinator.

Can I register for a VFC if I’m not employed in a setting that offers vaccination services?

You don’t need to be employed in a vaccinating role to register for our courses. However, if you are not currently employed in an area that offers vaccination services, it can be very difficult to complete the full authorisation process, particularly the clinical assessment. Neither IMAC nor the local immunisation coordinators are responsible for arranging a clinical placement where you can undertake a clinical assessment. It is recommended that you complete the clinical assessment within 6 months of completing the course.  Please refer to the vaccinator foundation course standards for more information. 

I’m an enrolled nurse - can I complete a VFC and become an authorised vaccinator?

Yes

If I am a midwife/nurse practitioner/nurse prescriber, do I need to do a VFC?

Midwives

Vaccination sits within midwifery scope of practice. Midwives can administer funded vaccines to pregnant women and postpartum to 6 weeks, and Hep b and immunoglobulin to infants at the time of birth. To administer these, midwives do not need to complete further training beyond their
pre-registration programme. Midwives who have completed the COVID-19 vaccinator education can administer COVID-19 vaccines to any eligible person. Administering any other vaccines is outside of scope of practice. Midwives who are also registered nurses can complete a VFC and become authorised vaccinators in order to administer vaccines to other groups. 

Nurse practitioners 

If vaccination sits within scope of practice as deemed by the Nursing Council of NZ, nurse practitioners do not need to complete a VFC to administer vaccines. We recommend that all vaccinators keep up to date by completing appropriate vaccinator courses including two-yearly updates. 

RN Prescribers in Primary Health and Specialty Teams 

Do not need to apply for authorisation but they must meet and maintain all the requirements to be an authorised vaccinator, including completion of a VFC and two-yearly updates, hold a current CPR and APC. Vaccines are included in the list of medications they can prescribe. 

RN Prescribers in Community Health 

Do need to meet vaccinator education requirements and become authorised vaccinators if they were to vaccinate (without standing orders or prescription) because they do not have vaccines on the limited list of medications they can prescribe within their collaborative team.  

If I am a paramedic, can I do this course?

Paramedics should contact their local Medical Officer of Health and enquire whether they can become authorised vaccinators in the public health area where they practice. Paramedics can administer vaccines under a standing order.

Where can I get the Immunisation Handbook?

This is a Ministry of Health resource available only online, available here

I have a query about authorisation, who can I contact?

Firstly, look on the website of the Regional Public Health Unit that covers the area you work or live in as FAQs are often answered there. There will be a contact email or phone number if more information is needed. If you still require help you can check with your local immunisation coordinator. Requirements differ between the public health areas.

How do I find my local immunisation coordinator?

Can I vaccinate without authorisation?

Yes. You can still administer vaccinations without being authorised as long as the vaccines are prescribed by a medical doctor or nurse practitioner, or you are linked to a valid standing order (you are required to read and sign a copy of the standing order). You will need a prescription or standing order for the vaccines you will administer in your clinical assessment. When you are first vaccinating, before you are authorised, ideally you will be supervised by an authorised vaccinator. This is to support you to provide a safe immunisation event. However, an authorised vaccinator’s authorisation does not cover you to administer the vaccines. You will need a prescription or standing order to do this.

How do I organise a clinical assessment?

Your clinical assessment can be completed once you have received your certificate upon passing your online open-book assessment. You have up to 2 years to complete your clinical assessment. However, ideally it is completed within 6 months (this can be dependent on opportunity eg, the need to wait for influenza vaccines). Once you are ready, please email your immunisation coordinator to organise a clinical assessment. You will need to arrange to carry out the vaccination of two patients (of appropriate ages) at a suitable venue (eg, general practice or pharmacy with cold chain accreditation). You will need to have organised a prescription or have a standing order that covers you to administer the vaccinations.

I only vaccinate adults, which course should I complete?

Vaccinator foundation course (VFC)

Both the 2-day vaccinator foundation course (VFC) and the flexible learning vaccinator foundation course (FLVFC) cover the whole-of-life schedule. This not only gives you a wider range or knowledge, but should you change career paths at a later stage, you shouldn’t need to re-do this original training (you will need to complete another age-appropriate clinical assessment). 

Vaccinator update course (VUC)

All authorised vaccinators and pharmacist vaccinators must complete an update every 2 years to maintain their status. Authorised vaccinator must reapply for authorisation from the local Medical Officer of Health. All face-to-face VUCs cover whole-of-life vaccination. But you can choose an update with   a more specialised focus. See the courses available here

I’ve lost my certificate; how do I get a new one?

Certificates for current courses are found in the ‘Awards’ section on the LMS home page. For older certificates, please email us at imaceducation@auckland.ac.nz. We are unable to provide replacement certificates prior to 2008.

How often do I need to complete a VUC?

VUCs need to be completed every 2 years to be eligible to reapply for authorisation or to maintain pharmacist vaccinator status. The update courses are available face-to-face or online.

What about COVID-19 vaccinator courses?

There are a range of COVID-19 courses available. Click here to find which COVID-19 course best suits your situation.

What about TB, mantoux skin testing and BCG vaccination courses?

This online course is available to any health professionals who wish to complete it for their own learning, even if they are not going to administer the BCG vaccine. The clinical component (supervised BCG vaccination and BCG clinical assessment), is only for vaccinators employed in a public health unit or some specialist travel clinics. These vaccinators will need to apply to their local Medical Officer of Health for BCG endorsement after successful completion of all the requirements. Other vaccinators who would like to administer BCG vaccines should discuss this with their local Medical Officer of Health and determine whether they are eligible for endorsement, or not, prior to enrolling on the course.