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Pharmacist training for vaccinations

19 January 2021

The pharmacist must complete a training course that complies with the Australian Pharmacy Council ‘Standards for the Accreditation of Programs to Support Pharmacist Administration of Vaccines‘ (current version). The training course must also be conducted by an Australian Pharmacy Council accredited pharmacy education program provider. 

The pharmacist vaccinator must ensure that they have completed training for all authorised vaccines that they intend to administer. Currently three vaccines are included in the NSW Pharmacist Vaccination Standards. Not all courses cover all three vaccines, so make sure you check which vaccines your certification covers.

  • Influenza vaccine: Individuals aged 10 years and over 
  • Measles — mumps — rubella combination vaccine (MMR): Individuals aged 16 years and over 
  • Diphtheria — tetanus — pertussis combination vaccine (dTpa): Individuals aged 16 years and over

Whilst these course have pre-requisite requirements, there is an ongoing need for pharmacist vaccinators to always have a current CPR certificate (Approved courses are HLT001) as well as a current First Aid certificate (Approved courses are HLT003). CPR certificates are only valid for 12 months and First Aid certificates are usually valid for three years. If expired, you must not administer any vaccines until you have updated your CPR certification.

Mandatory reporting of vaccines to the Australian Immunisation Register

The Australian Immunisation Register Amendment (Reporting) Bill 2020, entered parliament on December 3, 2020. The effect of the amendments in the Bill is to ensure all vaccination providers report all vaccines given, to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). These changes will ensure that every Australian can access their vaccine history through this safe and secure register. This initiative will also support the administration of COVID-19 vaccines.

The need for the Australian Immunisation Register Amendment (Reporting) Bill 2020 arose from the need to provide more Australians with information about their immunisation history, to support the roll out of a COVID-19 vaccine and the ongoing administration of the National Immunisation Program.

Public consultation on the proposed changes indicated a high level of community support for these improvements and key stakeholders, including health peak bodies indicated their public support.

Please note that whilst the Bill includes COVID-19 vaccine from 1 March 2021, it will be mandatory for all other vaccines to be entered from 1 July 2021. There are provisions for a civil penalty of 30 penalty units (equivalent to $6660) should the provider fail to comply. If your software is transmitting information to the AIR, please perform quality checks to ensure this is in fact happening.