Registered health practitioners and students: What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout

09 Mar 2021

The National Boards and Ahpra have published a joint statement today to help registered health practitioners and students understand what’s expected of them in giving, receiving and advising on and sharing information about COVID-19 vaccination.

Key points

  • A joint position statement was published today about National Boards’ expectations of registered health practitioners and students in relation to COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Registered health practitioners have led the remarkable public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia, and we commend them for this sustained public health response.
  • As the national vaccination program gets underway, registered health practitioners and students remain critical to this success by:
    • being vaccinated against COVID-19 unless medically contraindicated
    • being appropriately qualified and trained to administer COVID-19 vaccines if authorised, and
    • providing accurate information and advice about COVID-19 vaccination including in social media and advertising.

The National Boards and Ahpra have published a joint statement today to help registered health practitioners and students understand what’s expected of them in giving, receiving and advising on and sharing information about COVID-19 vaccination.

Co-chair of the Forum of NRAS Chairs and Pharmacy Board Chair, Mr Brett Simmonds, said all registered practitioners have a key role to play by ensuring they provide accurate, evidence-based information to patients about COVID-19 vaccination.

‘National Boards support the vaccination program and encourage all registered health practitioners to get vaccinated unless medically contraindicated.

‘The codes of conduct for each of the registered health professions explain the public health obligations of registered health practitioners, including participating in efforts to promote the health of the community and meeting obligations on disease prevention,’ Mr Simmonds said.

‘There is no place for anti-vaccination messages in professional health practice, and any promotion of anti-vaccination claims including on social media, and advertising may be subject to regulatory action.’

Ahpra CEO, Mr Martin Fletcher, said it’s important that as part of the national response to the pandemic, Australia’s 800,000 registered practitioners and 193,800 students are aware of what is expected of them.

‘If you’re a registered health practitioner or student, the best thing to do is to read our joint statement. It explains the National Boards’ expectations of registered health practitioners about receiving, administering and sharing information about COVID-19 vaccination. It’s important you understand these expectations so that patients and communities are best protected against the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.’

The National Boards and Ahpra also acknowledge the exceptional leadership role played by many health practitioners in the public health response to COVID-19.

‘We thank Australia’s hardworking public health leaders who have provided remarkable leadership to protect the Australian community and continue to be key to our national COVID-19 defence,’ Mr Fletcher said.

As part of the national vaccination rollout program, practitioners authorised to administer COVID-19 vaccines must complete specific COVID-19 vaccination training, as required by Commonwealth, state and territory governments. Training in the handling and administration of COVID-19 vaccines protects the public by supporting the vaccination program to be rolled out safely.

All practitioners, including students on placement, must comply with local employer, health service or health department policies, procedures and guidelines on COVID-19 vaccinations.

Concerns about the conduct or practice of a health practitioner can be reported on the Ahpra concerns submission portal. National Boards will consider whether the practitioner has breached their professional obligations and will treat these matters seriously.

For media queries, please call (03) 8708 9200.

More information

Read the joint statement 

The regulators’ role

While Ahpra and the National Boards regulate individual health practitioners, we don’t regulate the rollout of vaccines. That is being managed by the Commonwealth, state and territory governments.

Additional guidance from National Boards

The Chiropractic Board of Australia’s Statement on the provision of health information contains important additional information for chiropractors on vaccination and information sharing.

The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia’s Position statement on nurses, midwives and vaccination provides important additional information for nurses and midwives on vaccination and information sharing.

National public health information about COVID-19 and vaccination

www.health.gov.au is the official site for the latest information on the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Information about national vaccination policy is available from: Commonwealth Department of Health (2020). Australian COVID-19 Vaccination Policy. See: www.health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/covid-19-vaccines/about-covid-19-vaccines/australias-covid-19-vaccination-policy.

Information about the COVID-19 vaccination training program is available on the Department of Health website. See: www.health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/covid-19-vaccines/covid-19-vaccination-training-program

The Therapeutic Goods Administration website provides valuable information on COVID-19 vaccines, including information about advertising COVID-19 vaccines. See: www.tga.gov.au/covid-19-vaccines.

State and territory information on COVID-19 and vaccination

Jurisdiction Web link 
Australian Capital Territory www.covid19.act.gov.au/vaccine
New South Wales www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/Pages/covid-vaccination
Northern Territory coronavirus.nt.gov.au/ 
Queensland www.health.qld.gov.au
South Australia www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/vaccination
Tasmania www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/vaccination-information/covid-19-vaccination
Victoria  www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/vaccine
Western Australia  ww2.health.wa.gov.au/Articles/A_E/Coronavirus/COVID19-vaccination-program

About Ahpra and the National Boards

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) and National Boards work in partnership to protect the public by implementing the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (the National Scheme). Together, we regulate Australia’s 800,000 registered practitioners by ensuring that only those who are suitably trained and qualified can practise in Australia. Protecting the public by ensuring access to a safe, competent and qualified healthcare workforce is always our priority. Every decision we make is guided by the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law), and by the regulatory principles. All registered practitioners are listed on the public register of practitioners.

 
 
Page reviewed 9/03/2021