To make vaccines more easily and conveniently available to the general public, a number of countries have introduced pharmacist vaccinators. In 2012, New Zealand pharmacist vaccine delivery services were initiated when influenza and Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis) vaccines were reclassified so they could be administered by pharmacists who had completed an approved vaccinator training course. In 2013, zoster (shingles) and meningococcal vaccines were reclassified increasing the range of vaccines community pharmacists could deliver.
From 1 April 2017, pharmacists have been able to deliver the influenza vaccine via a funded programme for people 65 years and over and pregnant women. People under 65 years with chronic conditions like asthma, heart disease or diabetes still need to go to their general practitioner to get the funded influenza vaccine, although some of this group may choose the convenience of purchasing the vaccine at a pharmacy.
Requirements for pharmacists
To offer a vaccination service, pharmacists must meet specified professional requirements and the pharmacy (or off-site location where the service is being provided) must meet facility and equipment criteria specified by the Ministry of Health. To provide a funded influenza vaccine programme from a community pharmacy the pharmacy must also have a signed contract with their respective District Health Board (DHB).
Further information for pharmacists including links to pre-vaccination checklists can be found in the Pharmacist Vaccinator Immunisation Guidelines located in section 5 of the PSNZ Pharmacy Practice Guidelines.