Queensland Government
Queensland Health
Immunisation

Information for Nurses

For important information on Immunisation Program Authorisations and the amended Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996 please see Program Authorisations.

Immunisation Program Nurses

Authority to Practise

Under the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996 to the extent necessary to practise nursing under an immunisation program, an immunisation program nurse is authorised to administer a vaccine or other restricted drug under a drug therapy protocol.

A drug therapy protocol means a certified document published by the department stating circumstances in which, and conditions under which, a person who may act under the protocol may use a stated controlled or restricted drug or poison for stated purposes.

An immunisation program means:

  1. an immunisation program carried out by the department (Queensland Health); or
  2. an immunisation program carried out by a local government; or
  3. a certified immunisation program (immunisation programs acceptable to be granted a certification are those targeting children, education facilities, Indigenous communities, other government Departments, or workplaces). Certified means approved by the chief executive of Queensland Health.

Click here for the Queensland Health Policy on the Certification of Immunisation Programs under the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996.

An immunisation program nurse means a registered nurse who:

  1. immediately before 1 July 2010, held an annual licence certificate endorsed under the Nursing Act 1992 that authorised the registered nurse to practise in an immunisation program; or
  2. has obtained a qualification in immunisation approved by the chief executive.

Health Management Protocol

If an Immunisation Program Nurse wishes to be employed on an Immunisation Program under the auspices of the Drug Therapy Protocol (DTP), the employer must have a current Health Management Protocol (HMP). The DTP describes the minimum content of the HMP.

The HMP must be developed in accordance with the current edition of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Australian Immunisation Handbook, and adopted by an interdisciplinary health team appointed by the employer under whose jurisdiction the HMP will be implemented.

The HMP must be endorsed and dated by the District Health Service Manager or Chief Executive Officer, and shall be effective for a maximum of two (2) years from the date of endorsement by the employer.

For further information on Health Management Protocols, please refer to the Immunisation Co-ordinator at your local public health unit in either Tropical Queensland, Central Queensland or Southern Queensland).

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Other nurses

Registered Nurses can only give a vaccination to a person on a doctor’s, nurse practioner’s or physician’s assistant’s oral or written instruction, unless they are currently employed as an Immunisation Program Nurse on an Immunisation Program under the auspices of the Drug therapy protocol (as defined in the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996).

Enrolled Nurses can no longer be endorsed for medication administration from 1 July 2010 under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act (2009). Enrolled nurses who have not completed the medication administration course have a “Notation” on their registration stating 'Does not hold Board approved qualifications in administration of medicines’ and therefore enrolled nurses with this notation are not qualified to administer restricted drugs, including vaccines.

However, an Enrolled Nurse who does NOT have the above “notation” on their registration can give a vaccination to a person, but only on a Doctor’s oral or written instruction AND under the supervision of a Doctor or Registered Nurse.

Further information on Enrolled Nurses and Medicine Administration, click here.

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Last Updated: 21 January 2014
Last Reviewed: 04 April 2011