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Vaccinating Health Worker Stage 1 Training

About the Vaccinating Health Worker (VHW)

In May 2022 Te Whatu Ora - Health NZ announced the Medicines Regulations have been updated to include Regulation 44AA, “Alternative authorisation of vaccinators”. This led to the introduction of the VHW role.

The VHW role will replace the existing authorised COVID-19 Vaccinator Working Under Supervision (CVWUS) workforce. With the appropriate training authorised VHWs can administer three other vaccines in addition to COVID-19 (Pfizer) vaccine. This includes influenza, Tdap, and HPV9 vaccines.

As outlined in the Te Whatu Ora VHW Capability Matrix there are two stages to the VHW training.

Stage 1 provides the pathway to move to a different scope of practice in Stage 2. Both stages require the VHW to work under the supervision and direction of a registered healthcare professional.

VHW training is recommended for people in the following professions who would like to become a vaccinator and be part of the Aotearoa immunisation workforce.

  • Healthcare assistant
  • Kaiāwhina
  • Kaiarahi
  • Kaimanaaki
  • Pharmacy technician
  • NZ trained healthcare professionals with an expired practicing certificate
  • Overseas-trained or retired healthcare professionals without a valid NZ practicing certificate



What VHW do (scope of practice)

VHW Stage 1

  • Administer COVID-19 and influenza vaccines to people aged 12 years and over
  • Administer Tdap and HPV9 vaccines to people aged 11 years and over

VHW Stage 2

  • From 5 years of age administer MMR, COVID-19 Pfizer 5+ and influenza vaccines
  • Preparation of COVID-19 Pfizer multi-dose vaccine (on completion of additional optional training)


VHWs are permitted to do the following

VHWs are NOT permitted to do the following

  • Check consumer details
  • Ask agreed screening questions, call for support when any issues are flagged
  • Check consent has been obtained
  • Prepare flu, Tdap, and HPV9 vaccines
  • Administer specific vaccines
  • Give post-vaccine advice
  • Screen and obtain consent from health consumers for vaccination
  • Prepare and draw up a vaccine (only from Stage 2)
  • Administer the vaccine to pre-consented and pre-screened health consumers deemed as high risk of having an adverse reaction to the vaccine
  • Provide clinical advice


VHW Stage 1 Training Pathway

A high-level illustration of the training pathway is shown below. The first two phases are IMAC-led. The last three phases are employer-led.

In addition to the IMAC VHW training, the VHWs must also complete other core training outlined in the VHW Capability Matrix. The employer is responsible for providing access to courses and support for course completion.


Training pathway for new entrants

There are three VHW Stage 1 online courses. Completion of the first introductory course is compulsory before starting the vaccine-specific courses. Each course has a multichoice-style assessment and the pass mark is 80%.

It is not compulsory to complete both vaccine-specific courses unless:

  • The VHW will be administering other vaccines not covered in their first vaccine-specific course and/or
  • The VHW intends to apply for VHW Stage 2 training.


Training pathway for currently authorised CVWUS and/or authorised VHW Stage 1 – Influenza Vaccine

The table below outlines the training requirements for those transitioning into the VHW Stage 1 pathway.

This applies to people who hold a current CVWUS authorisation and want to be authorised for other VHW Stage 1 vaccines and/or want to progress onto VHW Stage 2 training.

The IMAC practical can be done via zoom or in-person for people who are authorised CVWUS or authorised VHW to administer influenza vaccines.


Training Phases

Phases 1 and 2

Vaccinating Health Worker (VHW) Online Courses



Assessment passing mark

  1. VHW Course Stage 1

Introduction to immunisation and cultural engagement

Up to 4 hrs


       2. VHW Course Stage 1

COVID-19 and Influenza Vaccines

Up to 2 hrs


       3. VHW Course Stage 1

Tdap and HPV9 Vaccines

Up to 2 hrs


As the employer is responsible for ensuring the VHW completes training phases 3, 4, and 5, it is essential the VHW is registered on the relevant vaccine-specific course i.e., the vaccines they will be administering at the workplace.


Course access and eligibility

VHW Stage 1 courses are now open for registration. To register, please contact the local IMAC clinical staff member (see below) to discuss how you can register trainees and get a copy of the registration form.

Please note:

  1. Course access is via employer nomination only
  2. Employers must send IMAC a completed registration form with details on the VHWs and the clinical supervisors
  3. Nominated VHWs then receive ‘package codes’ from IMAC to access the VHW Stage 1 and VHW Stage 1 vaccine-specific online courses via IMAC’s Learning Management System (LMS).


IMAC practical workshop (3-3.5 hours)

On successfully completing the online courses, the VHW will then attend a practical workshop. A workbook is issued to guide learning at the workplace. It also includes a series of knowledge checks, activities, and observation tasks.


Phases 3 and 4

Practical assessment at the workplace and authorisation application to Te Whatu Ora

This is the formal assessment of the VHW knowledge and skills. The assessment is performed under a Standing Order by an authorised vaccinator with at least 2-years’ experience.

Upon completing all the training requirements for VHW Stage 1, an application is then submitted to Te Whatu Ora. If the application is accepted, Te Whatu Ora will then issue a vaccine-specific authorisation letter. The authorisation is valid for 2 years.

If the authorised stage 1 VHW wishes to extend their authorisation to other Stage 1 vaccines, they will need to complete requirements in Phase 5 (see below) and then apply for to Te Whatu Ora to extend their authorisation via the Authorisation Portal.


Phase 5

Competency assessment at the workplace to extend authorisation scope.

This is only required if the authorised Stage 1 VHW is required to administer other Stage 1 VHW vaccines that were not administered during their practical assessment. Competency assessments are completed with the workplace clinical supervisor.

Details of this are included in the VHW Stage 1 Workbook, which is provided after the successful completion of the IMAC practical workshop.


How to apply for VHW Authorisation

To apply for authorisation, once your training and assessment is complete, please click on the link to the Te Whatu Ora Vaccinator Authorisation Portal (click here).

Te Whatu Ora will assess applications and issue the authorisation letter. The authorised Stage 1 VHW can then administer approved vaccines under the direction and supervision of a registered healthcare professional without a Standing Order.

Authorisation is valid for 2 years from the issue date.


For more information

Te Whatu Ora VHW Capability Matrix (version 2, 12 August 2022)

Te Whatu Ora VHW Information Sheets for Employers, Clinical Supervisors, and VHWs.

Becoming a Vaccinating Health Worker

Information for Vaccinating Health Worker Clinical Supervisors

Information for Employers

Contacts for more information & to request a registration form

For training, registration, and onboarding support questions, please email the local IMAC clinical staff below.

Northern Region

Sandra Prinsloo

COVID-19 Immunisation Education Facilitator


Midlands Region

Chantel Punter

COVID-19 Immunisation Education Facilitators

Central Region

Natasha Matangi or Diane McIrvine

COVID-19 Immunisation Education Facilitators


Southern Region

Karen Cague or Marion Thomas

COVID-19 Immunisation Education Facilitators 

For LMS  registration and course navigation, please email [email protected]

For questions on the authorisation process, please email [email protected]

Last updated: Nov 2022