Update on timelines for whānau to access childhood immunisations in pharmacy

Last month, Te Whatu Ora and Pharmac released a joint consultation regarding the removal of pharmacy ordering restrictions for some childhood immunisations. The consultation closed on 29 January 2024.

A lot of responses were received, and more time is needed to carefully consider this feedback. The earliest date that this change will be enabled, if the proposal is successful, is now 1 April 2024.

A training package is currently being developed so that pharmacist vaccinators can upskill to become fully authorised vaccinators. We’re working towards making this available in late March (rather than our initial date of late February), if the decision from Pharmac is to proceed.  This training package will lead to authorisation for whole-of-life immunisations and will allow pharmacists to immunise pēpi from 6 weeks of age. 

Pharmac has also decided to consult on a proposal to amend the listing for paracetamol oral liquid to enable Direct Provision by pharmacists. This change will be considered alongside the proposal to remove the pharmacy ordering restriction from certain childhood vaccines, including meningococcal B vaccine. The consultation closes at 9.00am on Monday 19 February 2024.  

More information about both consultations can be found on the Pharmac website 

REMINDER: Free MenB catch up period ends 28 February 2024

Meningococcal B and Meningococcal ACWY vaccines are free for those aged between 13 and 25 years (inclusive) who are entering within the next three months, or in their first year of living in boarding school hostels, tertiary education halls of residence, military barracks, Youth Justice facilities or prisons.

Until 28 February 2024, there is also a free catch-up period for MenB vaccines, for those aged 13 to 25 years in any year of a close living facility.

Te Whatu Ora issued a media statement on 23 January to encourage young people get immunised.

Eligible young people encouraged to have free meningococcal vaccines

As long as the first dose is given before the free catch-up period ends, the second dose can be claimed even if it’s administered after 28 February 2024.

Details for accessing collateral to help promote Meningococcal vaccines can be found at the end of this email.

Be protected against meningococcal disease Be protected against meningococcal disease Be protected against meningococcal disease

Influenza update

The Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) will be holding its annual New Zealand Influenza & COVID-19 Symposium in Auckland on 14 March 2024. More information and details on how to register is found on the IMAC website.

Our regular reminders on collateral

Dropbox downloadable collateral

Don’t forget all our immunisation collateral is available on Dropbox for health care providers to use when promoting vaccinations. Please feel free to share this link and the collateral widely with your other healthcare colleagues: Dropbox – National Immunisation Programme – vaccine resources.

Collateral in HealthEd

Immunisation resources are also available from HealthEd. We have added some of our immunisation collateral to HealthEd under the vaccinations and immunisations topic. You can now download the resource PDF directly from the HealthEd website, and printed copies of some resources are available to order through Bluestar. If you don’t already have a Bluestar login account, please see below on how to sign up.

Collateral in Bluestar

Printed copies of some resources can be ordered for free via the Bluestar portal. If you’re not already registered, you can register on the Bluestar portal. Below the login details, select ‘Need to Register?’. Complete the online registration form, include your clinic/practice/pharmacy name and your contact details. You will receive an email confirming your registration. Remember to click the button in the email to 'Activate' your registration.

Where can I get more information?

We're here to help!  If there is anything we can do to help with your vaccination promotion activity, or if you need any comms assistance please reach out to the team:

Health sector Comms and Engagement 

Māori Comms and Engagement

Pacific Comms and Engagement

Media issues

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