June 15, 2021

Bespoke education successful recipe for engaging Pasifika vaccinator workforce

The Immunisation Advisory Centre’s (IMAC) Pasifika Engagement Advisor Siufofoga Matagi is conscious of the need to support more Pasifika vaccinators into the COVID-19 vaccinator workforce.

Cartoon image of a man showing his arm where he received a vaccination

The Immunisation Advisory Centre’s (IMAC) Pasifika Engagement Advisor Siufofoga Matagi is conscious of the need to support more Pasifika vaccinators into the COVID-19 vaccinator workforce.

“Having more Pasifika vaccinators with the ability to speak in their language and with a depth of cultural understanding helps bridge the inequity gap and improve Pasifika peoples' engagement with the vaccination process,” Siufofoga explains.

That’s why a pilot for a Pasifika version of IMAC’s Provisional Vaccinator Foundational Course (PVFC) which ran last week in partnership with Moana Research, was an important one. This directed workshop will inform future PVFC courses with other Pasifika providers to grow the capacity and capability of the Pasifika vaccinator workforce for COVID-19 vaccination as well as MMR and Influenza vaccines.

The PVFC education has been running since last year, in anticipation of the need for an expanded workforce to support an eventual COVID-19 vaccine. To date, more than 5000 health professionals have undertaken the PVFC training which is conducted predominantly online alongside a peer assessment component. The course runs in parallel to IMAC’s authorised vaccinator pathway, granting health professionals provisional authorisation to vaccinate until 30 June 2022.

In the Pasifika pilot, the PVFC took place in-person. Siufofoga explains this was in recognition of the need to implement a culturally responsive model of delivery that reflected the demands of its targeted audience.

She shared, "We know a one-size-for-all approach doesn’t work for all and when it comes to engaging our Pasifika communities, in-person training enables reciprocity to emerge with the sharing of evidence-based knowledge and expertise in a safe and welcoming environment. Participants feel supported, which enriches the individuals learning and understanding, especially if vaccinating is an entirely new experience and more so if English is a second language.

“We need to be innovative and listen to what our Pasifika people are saying if we want to produce the best outcomes for all."

The training day was held at the Nga Hau, Mangere Birthing Centre facility and included presentations from IMAC immunisation education facilitators covering vaccine administration and cold chain considerations for storing vaccines correctly. After lunch, peer assessment took place where the participants role-played the vaccination process and simulated vaccinations.

IMAC COVID-19 Immunisation Education Facilitator Dealla Smith said: “all participants did a fantastic job, and they have now all achieved Provisional Vaccinator Authorisation.”

One of the participants, Registered Makatala Momoiseā of MedCall said: “The face-to-face training is a very effective way for us to learn, especially Pacific Island students who have English as a second language. The tutors provide individual support and guidance to complete the training. I'm so glad I completed the training and thanks for the support from the facilitator, for me to pass the vaccinator course.”

Jacinta Fa'alili-Fidow, CEO of Moana Research, acknowledged the work done during the Pasifika training day: "I want to congratulate you all on a wonderful workshop designed for our Pasifika workforce. You all showed much kindness and professionalism, and we were privileged to be a part of this first workshop."

Fa'afetai lava, please get in touch if you are a Health Professional and would like to learn more about becoming a Provisional Vaccinator. There will be future Pasifika Provisional Vaccinator training days, so if you are interested, please get in touch.