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Registration and qualifications

Queensland Health works with registered vaccine service providers to protect the community against preventable infectious diseases. Service providers administer vaccines in a range of settings including community health clinics, child health centres, councils, schools and aged care facilities.

Qualified immunisation professionals are employed by a range of vaccine service providers to conduct immunisations.

Vaccine service providers

If you are a suitably qualified service and would like to discuss registering as a service provider to access vaccines as part of the National Immunisation Program, please contact the Queensland Health Immunisation Program.

Yellow fever vaccines

Yellow fever immunisation can only be given by approved Yellow fever vaccination centres (Excel, 69.5KB). To register as a yellow fever vaccine provider, email the Communicable Diseases Unit for an application package.

Applications are assessed on the following criteria:

  • Ability to administer vaccine correctly and complete vaccination certificate to World Health Organization (WHO) requirements
  • Vaccine knowledge including indications, contraindications and adverse effects, as in the Australian Immunisation Handbook
  • Knowledge of WHO requirements for yellow fever certification
  • Ability to store the vaccine correctly
  • Appropriate professional practice towards patients referred by other medical practitioners and appropriate communication with a patient’s usual doctor
  • Ability to obtain valid informed consent prior to vaccination
  • Ability to provide patients with advice and information on mosquito protection and safe travel practices in tropical countries.

If the practice is approved, Queensland Health will send a confirmation letter and an official stamp with a unique accreditation number.

Qualified immunisation professionals

Under the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996 (PDF, 1 MB), 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 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. The Health Management Protocol must be endorsed and dated by Queensland Health, and applies for a maximum of two years.

For more information on Health Management Protocols, please contact your local public health unit.

Registered nurses

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,
    or
  • 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.

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.

Enrolled nurses

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.

Graduates who have not completed the relevant medicine administration units have a notation on their registration, published on the register of practitioners. The notation states: ‘Does not hold Board-approved qualification in administration of medicines’. Enrolled nurses with this notation are not qualified to administer vaccines.

More information on medicine administration by enrolled nurses is available through the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia.

Last updated: 23 June 2015