New Zealand Medicine Regulations Changed to Increase Vaccinators

A call has gone out to retired and overseas-trained health professionals and the wider health workforce to join the New Zealand vaccinator team.

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced today that the government has changed the Medicines Regulations to allow more health workers to be trained to give vaccinations and lend a hand as the country moves to the next phase of the fight against COVID-19, the biggest vaccination campaign in New Zealand’s history.

Retired nurses, people who have trained overseas but are not registered here, and those in the kaiāwhina workforce who work in the health system already in roles such as healthcare assistants are being asked to put their “Hands–Up” to join the team.

Minister Hipkins says,” more than 12,500 people with a wide range of backgrounds, including many ex health professionals, have already logged their details in the Hands-Up database, which is designed to capture a broad range of skills and backgrounds for different roles. We anticipate many of the former health professionals who have entered their details into Hands-Up will be keen to become involved in the vaccination programme.”

People can enroll through the database Registrations can be completed in English, Te Reo Māori, Samoan, or Tongan.

The Minister adds, “this influx of health workers will boost both these numbers and the diversity of the workforce. “Current projections are that we will need 1,600 full-time equivalent vaccinators at the peak of the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out. This means we will likely need between 6,000 to 6,500 people vaccinating in part or full time roles.”

Image credit: Ministry of Health