By law only certain medical professionals are able to administer vaccines. The required qualifications for nurses are outlined below.
Immunisation program nurses
By law, an immunisation program nurse (IPN) is authorised to administer a vaccine or other restricted drug under a Drug Therapy Protocol as part of a Queensland Health immunisation program, local government immunisation program or immunisation program approved by Queensland Health.
If an IPN wishes to be employed in an immunisation program under the auspices of the Drug Therapy Protocol, the employer must have a current Health Management Protocol that is endorsed and dated by Queensland Health, and applies for a maximum of two years.
Learn more about becoming an IPN at Immunisation Program - Registered Nurse Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996 course
To be qualified as an IPN a registered nurse must:
have previously qualified for endorsement as an IPN with the former Queensland Nursing Council and retain evidence of this endorsement,
- complete an IPN course approved by the chief executive of the Department of Health and retain evidence of proof of completion.
Employers should require the registered nurse to produce proof of authorisation/qualification as an IPN in Queensland, prior to allowing the nurse to practice as an IPN.
Registered nurses qualified in another Australian state should apply for Recognition of Prior Learning to one of the approved course providers. Enroll to complete the Queensland Immunisation Authorisation course at https://www.health.qld.gov.au/cunninghamcentre/activities/054
Registered nurses who have not completed an IPN course as described above can only give a vaccination to a person on the instruction of a doctor, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant, unless they are an authorised IPN and working under a Drug Therapy Protocol.
Qualified enrolled nurses can administer vaccinations, but only on a doctor’s oral or written instruction and under the supervision of a doctor or registered nurse. Nurses graduating from approved courses from 2008 onwards have completed relevant medicine administration units as part of their curriculum. This qualifies them to administer vaccines.
Approved 'Immunisation Program Nurse' Courses
Under the provisions of the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996, only appropriately authorised immunisation program nurses are able to administer and supply scheduled medicines as specified in the Drug Therapy Protocol - Immunisation Program Nurse.
Approved courses to gain appropriate Immunisation Program Nurse certification
- Australian College of Nursing - Immunisation for Health Practitioners Course Code 306 ONLY (undertaken between 29 June 2018 and 31 October 2020)
- Australian Catholic University N.B Approval expires 30th June 2021
- Cunningham Centre
- University of Southern Queensland
- Benchmarque Group
- Immunisation courses accredited by HESA. A list of HESA approved providers can be accessed on the HESA website
The Australian Government has partnered with the Australian College of Nursing to develop and deliver free and accredited training modules to Authorised COVID-19 vaccination providers.
Health professionals are advised to seek confirmation from their employer that they will be a vaccination provider before accessing the training.