Pharmacist Immunisers are registered pharmacists that have completed a recognised 'Immuniser program of study' and administer vaccines to specific client groups in approved locations 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 (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 '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 before they begin providing vaccinations. Registration will require completion of an application form for a government funded vaccine account. .
- Pharmacist Immunisers must successfully complete any mandated training modules for vaccines that are not included in an approved immuniser program of study, prior to administering these vaccines.
Japanese encephalitis vaccination
On 19 May 2022, in response to the recent emergence of Japanese encephalitis (JE) in Victoria, the Secretary Approval: Pharmacist Immuniser was amended to include administration of the JE vaccine to aged five years and older, in accordance with the conditions outlined in the Approval.
A condition of the Secretary Approval for administration of the JE vaccine by pharmacist immunisers is completion of the Japanese encephalitis - eLearning module for immunisation providers in Victoria, which has been recognised by the Deputy Chief Health Officer - Communicable Disease.
On 3 October 2022, in response to the recent emergence of monkeypox (MPX) in Victoria, the Secretary Approval: Pharmacist Immuniser was amended to include administration of the MPX vaccine to aged five years and older, in accordance with the conditions outlined in the Approval.
A condition of the Secretary Approval for administration of the MPX vaccine by pharmacist immunisers is completion of the Monkeypox vaccination eLearning module for immunisation providers in Victoria, which has been recognised by the Deputy Chief Health Officer - Communicable Disease. The module is free and available at the .
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) to specific cohorts of people approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration or recommended by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (target cohort ages are vaccine dependent), in accordance with the conditions outlined in the Approval until 19 October 2023 (inclusive), unless revoked earlier.
- Further information is available in the . These guidelines provide a primary point of information and resources for Victorian COVID-19 vaccination providers based on information and minimum site requirements set out by the Commonwealth. Compliance with these guidelines is a condition of the Public Health Emergency Orders and Secretary's Approvals that authorise the necessary Victorian workforce (which includes pharmacists) to deliver the vaccine. The guidelines also state the required training and supervision ratios for the Victorian emergency authorised immunisation workforce, which includes pharmacists.
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.
Programs of study
Programs of study for Immunisers that have been recognised by the Chief Health Officer.
Pharmacist study programs for education-providers
Education providers can apply to have an 'Immuniser program of study' recognised by the Chief Health Officer.
Victorian Pharmacist-Administered Vaccination Program Guidelines
Guidelines for the Victorian Pharmacist-Administered Vaccination Program, describing requirements and support.
Pharmacy services self-audit tool: immunisation site readiness
The department and the VPA have co-designed the self-audit tool to support pharmacies and pharmacist immunisers.
Reviewed 25 July 2023