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COVID-19 vaccination workforce FAQs

COVID-19 vaccination workforce FAQs

1. How is the COVID-19 vaccine being administered?

The Victorian Government is responsible for the vaccine rollout for public health service staff, public aged care (including public aged care residents), hotel quarantine staff and airport staff.

The Commonwealth Government is responsible for the vaccine rollout for private aged care staff and residents, and the population generally. The Commonwealth has sought expressions of interest from medical practices and pharmacies, these closed last Friday, and we await their decision. The Commonwealth also has contracts with some private sector organisations which operate as nursing agencies.

In Victoria, the vaccine can be administered by registered nurses, midwives and enrolled nurses (without notation) under the supervision of nurse immunisers. All vaccinators must complete the Commonwealth online training package, while those administering the vaccination on behalf of the Victorian Government must complete additional online modules.  

2. Who can apply for a position delivering the COVID-19 vaccination program?

Any registered nurse, enrolled nurse (without notation) or midwife may apply and will be temporarily authorised to administer vaccines, under the general supervision and support of nurse immunisers and/or nurse practitioners. Of course, nurse immunisers and nurse practitioners, who are already authorised to administer vaccinations, can also apply.

3. How do I apply for a position delivering the COVID-19 vaccination program?

You will need to apply either to the vaccination hubs hiring directly or Torrens Health (on behalf of Victorian Government).

The following are links to the nursing careers page of the health services operating the hubs. Note that some health services are recruiting directly and others via Torrens Health.

Further information from the Department of Health

4. If I have already expressed interest in COVID-19 vaccine employment via ANMF, do I need to express interest/ apply again?

Yes, you must apply directly, even if you provided your details to us within our vaccination workforce survey that was sent to members on 16 February 2021. The survey was to inform ANMF’s discussions with the Victorian Department of Health about available workforce. The department would prefer candidates to apply directly. Details of that survey result appear later in this newsflash.

5. What additional education must I do?

Nurse immunisers and nurse practitioners

Must complete the National COVID-19 Vaccination Training Program

  • Core modules (six modules)
  • Additional modules specific to individual vaccines.
  • CVMS (vaccine database) training. Relevant in-system modules.

Registered nurses (who are not nurse immunisers or nurse practitioners), midwives and enrolled nurses (emergency authorised workforce)

Must complete in order:

  1. Victorian COVID-19 e-Learning Competency
    • Online eLearning (three modules) (includes videos on multidose vials)
    • Local or Victorian practical new immuniser simulation
  2. National COVID-19 Vaccination Training Program
    • Core modules (six modules)
    • Additional modules specific to individual vaccines
  3. CVMS (vaccine database) training – relevant in-system modules
  4. Must complete a minimum of five supervised vaccination procedures.

Note: in Victoria only accredited nurse immunisers and nurse practitioners are authorised to administer vaccinations autonomously under the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations. On 21 February 2021 the Victorian Government made a public health emergency order allowing registered nurses (who are not nurse immunisers or nurse practitioners), midwives and enrolled nurses to provide the COVID-19 vaccine under supervision if they have completed the six Commonwealth modules and three Victorian modules. These nurses and midwives will only be able to administer the COVID-19 vaccine for the duration of the public health emergency order.

6. Will I be paid for undertaking the online modules?

ANMF anticipates that those who undertake the training in readiness for being part of the Victorian Government rollout, and apply to be part of the workforce, will be paid an amount of six hours pay as compensation for undertaking the suite of online modules.

There is no similar commitment from the Commonwealth Government at this time.

7. How will we find sufficient nurses and midwives to administer the Victorian Government vaccine rollout?

In the United Kingdom, who have already well advanced in their vaccine rollout, staff of the NHS were asked to work an additional shift per week.This is why ANMF undertook a survey of members to see if this was something that members would be enthusiastic about.That survey showed very high levels of enthusiasm to work an additional shift if it is as part of the vaccine rollout.

While not everyone can work an additional shift (it would not usually be possible to release you form your normal shifts to participate) many thousands of members are, and discussions with the Department of Health have seen general agreement that these be given preference to fill vacancies in the vaccine hubs or clinics. ANMF is aware that our members have worked through the pandemic and wish to be part of the solution to the pandemic.

8. What will I be paid to be part of the Victorian Government vaccine rollout?

You will be paid your normal hourly rate, whatever that is, unless you are a nurse immuniser (in which case you will be paid at Grade 3B) or someone with a management responsibility (each Hub will have a NUM and ANUMs who will be paid as such).

There is no similar commitment from the Commonwealth Government at this time.

9. Can I work at one hospital and help administer the vaccination at another?

Generally, yes. The current Victorian Department of Health guidelines limit mobility between wards and between hospitals for staff working in COVID wards. ANMF is in discussion with the department about lifting this restriction for staff participating in the COVID vaccine rollout and will update members as soon as possible.

10. What if I am on long service leave?

You can have your long service leave recredited if you are participating in the vaccine workforce.

11. What if I am currently off work due to illness or injury?

ANMF supports the inclusion of nurses/midwives in the vaccination workforce who are currently receiving workers compensation payments for an injury, where it is medically safe for them to do so i.e. upon receipt of a Certificate of Capacity from their treating practitioner, noting the work that is proposed and the conditions therein.

ANMF is seeking that a template letter be developed to send to staff currently off work due to illness or injury (subject to the known capacity of the employee) to seek advice from their treating medical practitioner.

There should be clear liability provided for any nurses who suffer an exacerbation of their work-related injury through their employment as vaccinators. i.e. an exacerbation claim against the vaccination hub employer.

12. What was the outcome of the survey?

ANMF undertook a quick survey of members on 16 February, of the 6400 responses, the following was found:

a) Willing to work an extra shift a week in vaccination hub

  • 4421 – highly likely
  • 1598 – likely
  • 441 – unlikely

b) Willing to work an extra shift a fortnight in vaccination hub

  • 5178 – highly likely
  • 1210 – likely
  • 133 – unlikely

c) Incentive payment

  • Unsurprisingly the incentive payment idea was very popular, even among those who said they were likely to take extra shifts, with 3066 saying an incentive payment would influence their decision. 1004 said ‘somewhat’ and 687 said it wouldn’t affect their decision.

d) Preferred shift length data from the vaccination survey

  • 2 hours – 315
  • 4 hours – 1630
  • 6 hours – 2824
  • 8 hours – 3313
  • 10 hours – 974
  • 12 hours – 664