Pharmacist Immunisers are registered pharmacists that have completed a recognised 'Immuniser program of study' and administer vaccines to specific client groups in approved locations such as community pharmacies as part of the Victorian Pharmacist-Administered Vaccination Program.
The Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2017 (the Regulations) enable the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (the department) to approve a Schedule 4 poison for administration by a pharmacist, and to specify the conditions in which a pharmacist is authorised to administer a Schedule 4 poison.
The Regulations also authorise pharmacists to administer a Schedule 3 poison to a person under their case if a therapeutic need exists.
The Regulations are available from the Victorian Legislation .
A 'Secretary Approval Pharmacist Immuniser' defines the conditions that apply to Pharmacist Immunisers. The conditions of the Secretary Approval and related requirements for pharmacists are described in the Victorian Pharmacist-Administered Vaccination Program Guidelines. These include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Pharmacist Immunisers are required to complete a recognised 'Immuniser program of study', to hold a current first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation certificate, and to ensure that at least one other suitably qualified staff member is on-site when vaccination services are delivered in pharmacy settings.
- Pharmacist Immunisers are expected to comply with current editions of the Australian Immunisation Handbook, the National Vaccine Storage Guidelines: Strive for 5, the Victorian Pharmacy Authority's Guidelines, and the Victorian Pharmacist-Administered Vaccination Program Guidelines.
- Pharmacist Immunisers may administer vaccines in community pharmacies, hospitals, and in certain pharmacy depots including the provision of mobile or outreach services linked to these centres.
- Pharmacies are required to nominate a responsible pharmacist and register with the Department of Health and Human Services before they begin providing vaccinations. Registration will require completion of an application form for a government funded vaccine account. An application for government funded vaccine account form can be downloaded below.
A time-limited approval, Secretary Approval: Pharmacist Immuniser – SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) VACCINE, authorises a Pharmacist Immuniser to possess and administer any SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) VACCINE approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (COVID-19 VACCINE) in accordance with the conditions outlined in the Approval until 6 May 2022 (inclusive), unless revoked earlier.
The amended Secretary Approval was published in the Government Gazette S 208 7 May 2021 (Pharmacist Immuniser – SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) VACCINE) and available to download from the Secretary Approval - Pharmacist Immuniser (COVID-19) page or accessible via the Medicines and Poisons – Secretary Approvals webpage. This approval supersedes the Secretary Approval: Pharmacist Immuniser – SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) VACCINE published in the Government Gazette S 80 21 February 2021 pp.4-7.
Fees and charges by Pharmacist Immunisers
Pharmacist Immunisers may charge a service fee for administration of the vaccination to people who are eligible for government-funded vaccines, if they wish to do so. Pharmacist Immunisers are required to advise these persons about the availability of government-funded vaccines and free vaccination services through bulk-billing general practitioners, prior to administering the vaccine.
For those persons who are not eligible for government-funded vaccines the pharmacist may charge a fee for the vaccine and their services.