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

The Ministry of Health has contracted the Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC), operated by UniServices and based at the University of Auckland, to provide education and support to all health professionals and allied workforces across New Zealand during the rollout of the COVID-19 immunisation programme.

Set to be the largest immunisation programme in New Zealand’s history, it means that IMAC needs to more than double its workforce from 24 to approximately 60 people in order to deliver the education programme, and support the information needs of New Zealand’s health-related workforce.

Loretta Roberts, IMAC National Manager, says: “We recognise our role in supporting the successful rollout of the COVID-19 immunisation programme is an important one. IMAC has been providing education on all aspects of immunisation for more than 20 years and I am proud of what our team has already achieved as we have been working to prepare for the eventual delivery of COVID-19 vaccines for some time now.”

She explains the priority focus has been on recruiting a team of educators around the country as well as the preparation of training and education materials for the first sequential step of the programme - the immunisation of the border and quarantine workforce using the Pfizer Vaccine.  

Toni Laming, UniServices Executive Director - Business Units, says: “I am incredibly proud of the IMAC team’s dedication and leadership as part of New Zealand’s response to COVID-19 to keep our communities safe.  Their commitment to excellence in this programme of work is a wonderful example of how we are able to adapt and respond at speed to deliver evidence-based immunisation services and support for New Zealand when it is needed.”

As well as recruiting IMAC staff, the team has also been growing the vaccinator workforce. In 2020 the team began providing an accelerated provisional vaccinator foundation course for healthcare workers not currently vaccinators to support adding another 3,000 vaccinators to the existing pool of authorised vaccinators. This training is targeting a range of healthcare professionals including pharmacists, nursing and medical students, paramedics and nurses working in aged care.

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