The Australian College of Nursing (ACN) welcomed the news that student nurses and other health care professionals would be used in New South Wales to help boost the vaccine delivery workforce.
However, ACN expressed concern that this workforce was not fully using the skills of registered nurses, particularly those who have undertaken specific training to deliver vaccines.
Australian College of Nursing Chief Executive Officer, Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN, said that the integrity of the mass vaccination program must be preserved by placing fully qualified nurses at the centre of the rollout.
“We know thousands of nurses already have the qualifications to roll out the immunisation program immediately,” Adjunct Professor Ward said.
“Some may already be working in council-run or state-run immunisation programs, while many others have added on this training in order to support Australia’s vaccine rollout efforts.”
“These nurses must be the first point of call when organising a mass vaccination program.”
Adjunct Professor Ward said it was an opportunity for other students to receive valuable experience to support their future.
“Nursing students will appreciate the ability to develop the experience of delivering real-world vaccinations, practicing not just their clinical skills but also their patient interaction,” Adjunct Professor Ward said.
“This program should be opened to as many health care students as possible, including trainee doctors and pharmacists.”
Adjunct Professor Ward called on the State and Federal Governments to utilise this existing immunisation program to deliver vaccines to the wider community once supply was available.
“Immunisation nurses deliver vaccines in school halls and council facilities as a matter of course,” Adjunct Professor Ward said.
“These programs can effectively be augmented by the expansion of the workforce to make it as easy as possible for Australians to get vaccinated.”