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UDPDATE AUG. 20, 2021: PHO orders regarding mandatory vaccinations

BCCNM reminds nurses and midwives they must follow PHO orders including meeting mandatory vaccination status for working at certain sites​. Nurses must also follow organizational policies and guidelines.

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Administering the COVID-19 vaccine is within the scope of practice of all practising nurses who have the appropriate knowledge, skill and judgment. Nurses ensure they have the required competencies to safely administer vaccines and not carry out the procedure if they are not competent to do so.

BCCNM does not train, educate or provide education materials for nurses related to giving COVID-19 vaccines; BCCNM sets the standards nurses must meet when giving immunizations. Nurses and organizations/employers work together to ensure nurses giving the COVID-19 vaccine have the required education. Please visit the BCCDC website for required competencies and training information.

Remember, a nurse role models and follows public health directives that safeguard the health of the public. This includes knowing the evidence to dispel myths and misinformation when talking to clients.

For personal reasons, I don’t want to/can’t have a COVID-19 vaccine. Will I ​lose my licence if I refus​e?

All nurses must follow the Provincial Health Officer’s orders, including meeting mandatory vaccination status for working at certain sites. While you’re not required to have a COVID-19 vaccine to be registered with BCCNM, as a registrant of the college, you are responsible for protecting your clients from the risk of infection. Nurses and midwives have a professional, ethical and legal duty to provide clients with safe care. Review provincial and federal and your employer’s/organization’s policies about immunizations and disease control.

The Communicable Diseases: Preventing Nurse-to-Client Transmission practice standard provides more information about your responsibilities to provide safe care to clients.


I’m new to immunization administration (have not given immunizations autonomously), what additional education do I need in order to give the COVID-19 vaccine?

For nurses new to immunization administration who will be administering only the COVID-19 vaccine, the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is providing a condensed immunization competency education process. Please visit the BCCDC website for details. As well, check with your employer to see if there is any organizational specific education you need.

I’m not new to immunization administration (have autonomously given immunizations before), do I need to have additional education to provide the COVID-19 vaccine?

Likely yes, as the handling and storage of the COVID-19 vaccine is different than other vaccines.  Check with your employer to see what is needed at your organization.

When do I need to get a client specific order to administer the COVID-19 vaccine?

Nurses must get a client-specific order to administer an immunization if they do not meet the standards, limits and conditions set out in their Scope of Practice standards. 

Who can give a client-specific order for immunizations?

Health care professionals who are authorized to give a client-specific order is laid out in your nursing regulation. Not all nursing designations have the same list of authorized prescribers. Review your nursing regulation to see who is authorized to give client-specific orders.

Only RNs/RPNs who meet the requirements in the Giving a Client-specific Order standard can autonomously give client-specific orders for immunizations. If the nurse cannot fully meet the standard, they must get a client-specific order from another authorized health professional.

For example, a public health nurse (RN) with the immunization competencies can give a client-specific order to another RN, an LPN, or an RPN to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to a client they have assessed. The nurse who is administering the vaccine must follow the Medication practice standard and be competent to give an injection. Nurses who are acting on a client-specific order to immunize do not need to meet all of  the competencies established by BCCDC providing they were acting on an order and meet BCCNM standards .

Nurses (RNs, RPNs) giving client specific orders for the COVID-19 vaccine must follow:

  • Scope of practice standard Giving Client-specific Orders
  • Consent practice standard
  • Medication practice standard
  • Documentation practice standard
  • Employer/organizational policies
Another health care professional has prepared the COVID-19 vaccine and I am tasked to give it. Does this meet BCCNM standards?
BCCNM has neither approved this practice nor stated that it cannot be done. However, the BCCDC may determine this is the best approach for handling and administering the vaccines given B.C.’s current public health emergency and mass immunization plan. We leave this decision to the Public Health experts. Nurses should follow their standards of practice, BCCDC guidelines and decision support tools for COVID-19 vaccines, and their organization/employer policies. ​



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