Key messages

  • Nurse immunisers are registered nurses who (among other things) have completed an approved program of study on immunisation.
  • Nurse immunisers are regulated by the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2017, and are subject to Secretary approval lists.
  • Employers and employees have certain responsibilities when a Registered Nurse is employed as a nurse immuniser.

This summary should be read in conjunction with the Secretary approval under r. 8(1) and regulation 161 of the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2017, and ‘Nurse immunisers – approved client groups’.

Nurse immunisers – requirements

A nurse immuniser must be a nurse who is registered in Division 1 of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia register who provides evidence to the employer of currency of competence and ongoing professional development in immunisation, and who:

  • on 30 June 2010 was registered in division 1 of the register of nurses endorsed under s. 27A of the Health Professions Registration Act 2005 by the Nurses Board of Victoria in the approved area of practice – Immunisation

or

  • has satisfactorily completed the assessment of a nurse immuniser program recognised by the Chief Health Officer

or

  • has satisfactorily completed a nurse immuniser program not recognised by the Chief Health Officer and has written confirmation from the program provider that at the time the program was completed, it was of equivalent standard to a program currently recognised by the Chief Health Officer.
The list of recognised programs can be found at ‘Programs of study for nurse immunisers’.

Nurse immunisers – employer and employee responsibilities

Employers and employees have the following responsibilities:

  • Storage of each vaccine is at all times undertaken in accordance with the procedures specified in the National vaccine storage guidelines: Strive for 5 current at the time of administration.
  • The Registered Nurse must comply with the approved client groups for nurse immunisers.
  • A reasonable check of the client’s immunisation history must be undertaken before vaccination, using the Child Health Record, the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) or the client’s usual immunisation provider.
  • An immunisation assessment for an individual is at all times undertaken in accordance with the procedures specified in the current edition of The Australian Immunisation Handbook.
  • Contraindications must be observed as listed in The Australian Immunisation Handbook current at the time of administration. The specialist nature of some medical conditions, especially those involving immunosuppression, means that the individual’s treating doctor should make the final decision that vaccination is indicated for people with these conditions.
  • Valid consent must be obtained for each vaccination in accordance with the protocol listed in The Australian Immunisation Handbook current at the time of administration.
  • The process of establishing contraindications and valid consent must include the use of a ‘pre-immunisation checklist’ given to the parent or person to be vaccinated.
  • Administered vaccines must be notified to the AIR.  
  • A record of the vaccine(s) given must be provided to the client, on either the Child Health Record or the adult immunisation record card (order code PH478) available from department.
  • An emergency kit containing adrenaline injection 1:1000, and a written protocol for the treatment of anaphylaxis, including adrenaline use, must be available for each vaccination occasion of service. Administration of adrenaline is, at all times, undertaken in accordance with the procedures specified in the current edition of The Australian Immunisation Handbook.
  • The Registered Nurse must report significant or unexpected adverse events following immunisation (AEFIs) to SAEFVIC (Surveillance of Adverse Events Following Vaccination in the Community).
  • The Registered Nurse must have access to a medical practitioner for advice.
  • The Registered Nurse must review best-practice policy for immunisation each year. This may include, but is not limited to, attendance at updates or seminars on current practices, and proficiency in cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

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