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2 Processes for safe immunisation

Who can administer a vaccine?

Vaccines are prescription medicines, so they can only be administered by:
  • a nurse practitioner
  • a medical practitioner
  • a registered midwife
  • a designated prescriber (which includes a registered nurse fulfilling the designated prescriber criteria)
  • ​a person authorised to administer the medicine in accordance with a prescription or a standing order.
In the case of an approved immunisation programme, vaccines can be administered without a prescription or standing order by:
  • a person who is authorised by either the Director-General of Health or a medical officer of health under Regulation 44A of the Medicines Regulations 1984 (‘authorised vaccinator’).
Since 2012, pharmacists have been able to administer influenza vaccine due to a reclassification of the vaccine by the Medicines Classification Committee. It is the vaccine’s medicine classification that gives a pharmacist (who meets the conditions of the classification) the authority to administer the vaccine. A pharmacist vaccinator must successfully complete a vaccinator training course approved by the Ministry of Health and comply with the immunisation standards of the Ministry of Health.

In early 2014, meningococcal, Tdap and zoster vaccines were also reclassified as being able to be given by a trained pharmacist vaccinator. It is anticipated that future reclassification of other vaccines will widen the range of vaccines that a pharmacist vaccinator is able to administer. (See Appendix 4: ‘Authorisation of vaccinators and criteria for pharmacist vaccinators administering vaccines’).