Change to Medicines Regulations will boost COVID-19 vaccination workforce

News article

02 July 2021

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced today that the Government has approved a change to the Medicines Regulations so that more people across the country can join the COVID-19 vaccination workforce.

The change means more people in the health and disability sector can now undertake the necessary training to become vaccinators, giving a much-needed boost to the COVID-19 Immunisation Programme. It will also allow us to boost the numbers of Māori and Pacific in our vaccinator workforce.

These new COVID-19 Vaccinators will first be recruited from the kaiāwhina workforce, health professionals trained overseas who are not yet registered in New Zealand, or retired health professionals whose registration has lapsed some time ago.

The new COVID-19 Vaccinators will complete thorough training through the Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) to the same standard as other vaccinators, and will also be supervised and directed by registered health practitioners.

Their training will focus on tasks that can support the Immunisation Programme by managing the cold chain for the vaccines, administering vaccines to triaged low-risk people and post vaccination observation.

The new COVID-19 vaccinators will also be trained in basic emergency techniques including resuscitation and treatment of anaphylaxis.

Training is underway, with the first group of new COVID-19 Vaccinators set to join the vaccination workforce this month.

The new vaccinator role has been created to address the needs of the COVID-19 Immunisation Programme. For that reason, it’s intended to be temporary only, expiring on 1 June 2023.