Calls for nurse practitioners to be utilised in COVID vaccination roll-out

A coalition of peak nursing organisations is calling on National Cabinet today to include Australia’s highly-skilled nursing practitioner (NP) workforce in the COVID vaccination roll-out.

Nurses deliver the majority of vaccines in Australia and NPs are the most highly skilled and educated nurses in the clinical nursing workforce. NPs have the qualifications and expertise to diagnose, order investigations and prescribe medicines. They are recognised as being able to lead a health team in exactly the same way as a doctor can and are actively engaged with a developed client base in their communities

NPs service many of the underserved and isolated populations across the country, but are blocked from supporting the COVID 19 vaccination program, after being sidelined by the Morrison Government. The coalition of peak nursing organisations is ready to immediately support government efforts to identify and recruit nurses and operationalise a nurse-practitioner-led response to the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out.

Currently, the Australian population over 18 numbers 19.01 Million. Of these 14.1% are fully vaccinated and a further 17.7% have had their first dose. As a nation, we must have at least 80% of the population vaccinated to return to ‘normal life’. This can be achieved sooner if NPs are included in the vaccination roll-out.

The peak nursing organisations have urged National Cabinet to include a NP-led vaccination model to accelerate the vaccination roll-out:

  • 250 Vaccine Strike Teams spread throughout the country – Nursing homes, stadiums, convention centres, universities, rural and remote sites;
  • Each team led by 1 Nurse Practitioner with 10 Nurses and 3 administrative staff; 
  • Each nurse vaccinating 15 patients an hour approximately (based on 50% efficiency of a nurse-led school vaccination program);
  • Each strike team can vaccinate 1200 patients per day based on an 8 hr day;  
  • 250 teams will vaccinate 300,000 patients per day; 
  • 1,500,000 patients vaccinated every week, based on a 5 day working week.

Under the plan, the time for the entire Australian population having a first dose would be 8.9 weeks. The time for the entire Australian population having the second dose is 10.8 weeks (plus 1 month for Pfizer and 3 months for AZ).

Some pharmacies are already recruiting NPs to oversee their local vaccination programs. The use of NPs in the vaccination roll-out is vital to protect Australians from COVID-19.

We have the nurses, we have the expertise. Include us in your rollout Minister Hunt and we will provide your solution.

Joint media release authorised by Annie Butler, ANMF Federal Secretary

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