COVID-19: Vaccine training and guidance released by PHE
Public Health England (PHE) has published training material for the healthcare professionals, including pharmacy teams, who will administer COVID-19 vaccines.
As part of the training to administer COVID-19 vaccines, healthcare professionals should complete a COVID-19 vaccine e-learning programme, PHE said in a statement last week (November 27).
The e-learning modules include a “core knowledge session” – which provides “essential knowledge” about COVID-19 and “principles of immunisation” – and “an assessment session”, according to the module description. Additional modules specific to the different COVID-19 vaccines and their relative assessments will be added to the platform when other vaccines become available.
The e-learning programme provides theoretical training to vaccinators but those who have never administered vaccines before will also need to complete “face-to-face practical training”, pass an assessment and get “competency sign-off” before they can deliver a COVID-19 vaccination, according to the PHE guidance. This also applies to healthcare professionals returning to vaccination “after a prolonged period”.
The PHE online module describes the “COVID-19 vaccination programme for England” but learners from across the UK can access it – although they are advised to bear in mind that “some details” of the programme may differ in their country.
In an update earlier this month (November 16), Public Health Wales said the PHE training resources would be valid for Wales too, once authorised.
Last month (October 16), the government approved changes to the Human Medicines Regulations 2012, which apply across the UK. The change in the law means that pharmacists and other healthcare professionals – including new vaccinators such as pharmacy technicians – will be able to administer COVID-19 vaccines after they complete a “comprehensive training programme”. New vaccinators will also be asked to undergo a “competency assessment”.
COVID-19 vaccinator training requirements
PHE also published guidance detailing the training requirements for COVID-19 vaccinators.
Experienced vaccinators – such as pharmacists – who have vaccinated in the past 12 months, should receive training covering different elements – including the “vaccine specifics”, “contraindications and precautions”, legal issues, and how to store, prepare and dispose of the vaccine.
Registered health practitioners who are new to vaccinations should complete the same training as experienced vaccinators and, in addition, receive “work-based practical training, supervision until confident and assessment of competency using the COVID-19 vaccinator competency assessment tool”, according to the guidance.
Admin staff responsible for storing the vaccine could complete the vaccine storage session in the e-learning programme, PHE said.
Commenting on the resources published on Friday (November 27), PHE head of immunisations Dr Mary Ramsay said health and social care workers “will be at the forefront of this exciting next step to help tackle the pandemic”.
“Our new guidance will support them in delivering any approved COVID-19 vaccines safely and at pace,” she added.