Understanding Vaccines and the National Immunisation Program
Understanding Vaccines and the National Immunisation Program is an online immunisation education program that aims to equip health professionals with knowledge and skills to competently deliver a high quality and safe immunisation service by:
- introducing the learner to comprehensive information on the theoretical and practical components of immunisation
- guiding the learner to utilise the relevant resources that support best practice when delivering an immunisation service, and
- assisting the learner to assess their understanding of the relevant information.
This course has been developed by immunisation and education experts from the Communicable Disease Control Branch (CDCB), Department for Health and Ageing, South Australia, WA Health and the Education and Training Department of the Women and Children’s Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia.
The course is endorsed by the Australian College of Nursing and attracts 50 CPD hours
Register now for Understanding Vaccines and the National Immunisation Program
On completion of the course all learners will be able to print a Record of Studythat can be used as evidence for claiming continuing professional development.
Health professionals who successfully complete the course by meeting all course requirements will be awarded a Certificate of Completion.
State and Territory legislation governs whether this certificate allows the health professional to immunise independent of a medical order. Currently Understanding Vaccines and the National Immunisation Program is an approved training program in South Australia, Western Australia, Victoria and the Northern Territory.
SA Health reserves the right to withhold issuing a certificate if the learner is deemed not to have successfully completed the program by meeting all course requirements. In this case the learner will only receive a Record of Study.
To register, you must provide your full name, email address and password, current mailing address and AHPRA number.
The course requires access to the internet and a current browser.It is recommended to use the most recent version of Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Edge of Internet Explorer 10 and above. The course can be accessed via desktop, laptop or mobile devices.
The program must be completed within a period of 20 weeks from the date of purchase.
The course contains multiple choice assessments in each of the 4 modules which need to be completed to progress in the course. The final 3 modules have a short exam with 6 multiple choice questions that cover the required knowledge, requiring 100% to be attained for each exam, with one re-sit available.
A clinical assessment is not required to successfully complete this program.
Depending on skills and experience, many registered nurses and other health practitioners, may already have the necessary skills, knowledge and abilities that underpin clinical performance applicable to providing an immunisation service.
For those new to immunisation and those who feel they require further development of clinical competency are strongly encouraged to arrange clinical supervision from an experienced immuniser and this should be followed by a clinical competency assessment. For more information please see the Clinical Competency Assessment Guide (PDF 266KB)
The course costs $225 (inc GST). Secure payment is made by credit card online through BPoint. This is linked to the registration process.If purchasing access on behalf of multiple users, a request to pay via invoice can be made.
Program reports and evaluation results
Data on demographics of those purchasing the program from March 2014 to February 2016 is available on the SA Health Online Immunisation Education Program: Summary of data report (PDF 505KB).
A summary report (Attachment A) on the results from the evaluation surveys is also presented and covers the period from implementation of the pilot program in September 2013 to Version 4 in May 2015.
For further information on the course contact SA Health's Immunisation Section or see the frequently asked questions below.
The following is a course outline and provides information on the topics covered.
- Microbiology, immunology and vaccines
- Vaccine preventable diseases and associated vaccines available in the National Immunisation Program
- Groups with special immunisation requirements, legislation, consent, risk communication, vaccine safety and adverse reactions following immunisation
- Vaccine cold chain management and delivering an immunisation service
Module 1 aims to introduce the learner to immunisation from a public health perspective and discusses the effectiveness of immunisation programs. The National Immunisation Program Schedule is introduced and the governing structures that guide the vaccine recommendations and schedule points for administration.
The module delivers information on the fundamentals of microbiology and immunology, providing a foundation for further understanding of the disease process, the chain of infection, vaccine development and how vaccines work.
Module 2 Levels of many vaccine preventable diseases are low in Australia, but there continues to be a risk of diseases being imported, and others continue to occur in Australia. Module 2 presents information on each vaccine preventable disease followed by information on the vaccine designed to protect against the disease. The recommended age of administration and number of doses required for each vaccine is discussed, and how this is determined by the vaccine type and the need to balance disease protection for a particular age group with the need to ensure an appropriate immune response.:
Module 3 discusses different requirements to provide an effective, comprehensive and safe clinical encounter.
This module will deliver information on specific groups that, for a variety of reasons, are at higher risk of some vaccine preventable diseases and have special vaccination requirements. The relevant legislative requirements to gain valid consent and effectively communicate risk will be discussed. The learner is informed of the potential adverse events after the administration of a vaccine, how to advise the individuals of these and how adverse events are reported, monitored and investigated to ensure community safety and maintain confidence in immunisation programs.
Module 4 describes the requirement for vaccine storage and the national recommendations that are to be integrated into practice to ensure vaccines remain potent and effective so that when administered, they provide protection against these vaccine preventable diseases in the community.
This module will introduce the learner to the requirements necessary to deliver a high quality and safe immunisation service. The importance of the need for immunisation providers to be proficient in all aspects of the clinical encounter will be discussed and the steps involved in calculating a catch-up schedule.
Frequently asked questions
Why is this course needed?
Over the past decade there has been exponential growth in the number of vaccines added to the immunisation schedule and the number of groups eligible to receive free vaccines through the National Immunisation Program. This expansion has resulted in increased complexity of the immunisation schedule and immunisation programs in general.
Vaccines are administered to babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers, adolescents as well as pregnant women, the elderly and other vulnerable groups of all ages.
Health professionals, especially those involved in delivering vaccines, need to be well informed to confident respond to questions and concerns raised by the community.
Who should do this course?
Vaccines are administered by health professionals in a variety of settings such as hospitals, general practice, schools, council clinics and workplace settings.
Health professionals involved in the discussion or delivery of immunisation will benefit from this course.
Is there support available during the course?
Clinical support about the content of the course is available Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 5.00 pm (Australian Central Standard Time) from a team of immunisation nurse experts.
Technical support is available through an online help-desk.You can submit a request 24/7 however the technical experts at Digital Media are only able to respond Monday to Friday 9.00 am to 5.00 pm (Australian Central Standard Time).
Are resources provided?
All resources required throughout the course are provided electronically. A Catch-up workbook is provided via a course link and is to be printed and used for completing the activities in Module 4.