Purpose: To equip new immunizers with the knowledge necessary to provide safe and effective Immunization programs based on the Immunization Competencies for BC Health Professionals (a provincial adaptation of the Public Health Agency of Canada Immunization Competencies for Health Professionals). This course is employer mandated in some practice settings. Please consult your health professional's regulatory body as well as your employer, who can advise you of respective requirements in order to safely administer immunizations.
Intended Audience: All health professionals who administer immunizations in BC.
Website: PHSA LearningHub
The Immunization Competency Course has been updated and a new version launched on January 31, 2023. For more information regarding the course update please see the Q&A
The BCCDC Immunization Competency Course consists of two components:
- The Online Immunization Course and Exam
- The Immunization Skills Checklist (requires additional support from the employer, see below).
The BCCDC Immunization Competency Course has been recognized as the gold standard for education in BC related to the 16 immunization competencies as laid out in the Immunization Competencies for BC Health Professionals
. These competencies range from the scientific basis of immunization to essential immunization practices and contextual issues relevant to immunization, and provide foundational knowledge applicable to all immunization providers regardless of which vaccine(s) they provide or the age of their clientele.
The Immunization Skills Checklist
is an additional tool for the assessment of immunization competencies. In work environments where completion of the course is specifically required either by the healthcare provider’s (HCPs) respective regulatory college or by the employer, the employer should have a process in place for the HCP to complete the supervised Immunization Skills Checklist. Please enquire with your employer about their support for completion of the course and Immunization Skills Checklist. There is currently no process in place for HCPs to have their Immunization Skills Checklist supervised and signed off independent of their employers; however, even in the absence of the ability to complete the Immunization Skills Checklist, HCPs are still encouraged to complete the BCCDC Immunization Competency Course for their own continued learning.
This Learning Plan template
is a tool that can be used as a supplementary resource to the Immunization Skills Checklist.
Immunization and Professional Practice
Immunization is a restricted activity under the Health Professions Act. Restricted activities are considered high risk activities that have been legally restricted through the Health Professions Act and assigned to specific health professions who have the education/competency to do them. Restricted activities are unique to each health professional designation, and listed in the health professional’s regulatory scope of practice which include limits and conditions on this practice.
Health professional groups in BC which have autonomous immunization practice within their regulatory scope of practice are included here, along with the limits and conditions placed on their practice by their respective regulatory colleges.
Select the appropriate health professional designation below for more information.
The BCCNM requires that travel nurses and RNs working in vaccine research complete the BCCDC Immunization Competency Course, and travel nurses must follow the Canadian Immunization Guide in conjunction with the Canada Communicable Disease Reports. RNs working in other practice settings are strongly recommended to complete this course as part of their self-assessment and learning process. While the BCCNM does not explicitly require RNs to take the BCCDC Immunization Competency Course, it is required that RNs have the relevant competencies established by BCCDC. Nurses largely acquire these competencies by taking this course. The provincial standard for health care professionals (e.g., pharmacists, naturopathic physicians) who autonomously immunize clients is to take the BCCDC Immunization Competency Course and as such many employers require RNs to complete this course as well. Many employers also require RNs working in Public Health and Community Health settings to complete the Renewal Exam for Nurses Working in Public
every 3 years.
The BC College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM) Scope of Practice for Registered Psychiatric Nurses: Standards, Limits, Conditions requires Registered Psychiatric Nurses (RNs) who autonomously compound, dispense or administer vaccines to
Additionally, limits and conditions placed on RPN autonomous scope of practice for immunization include:
- RPNs are only permitted to immunize clients 4 years of age and older
- RPNs must not provide vaccines for the purpose of travel or research
- RPNs must complete additional education for the treatment of anaphylaxis (Note: this additional education is contained within the BCCDC Immunization Competency Course, Module 10)
RPNs are strongly recommended to complete the BCCDC Immunization Competency Course as part of their self-assessment and learning process. While the BCCNM does not explicitly require RPNs to take the BCCDC Immunization Competency Course, it is required that RPNs have the relevant competencies established by BCCDC. RPNs largely acquire these competencies by taking this course. The provincial standard for health care professionals (e.g., pharmacists, naturopathic physicians) autonomously immunizing clients is to take this course and as such many employers require RPNs to complete this course as well.
Additionally, limits and conditions placed on LPN autonomous scope of practice for immunization include:
- LPNs are only permitted to immunize clients 4 years of age and older who have stable and predictable states of health
- LPNs must not provide vaccines for the purpose of travel
- LPNs must complete additional education for the treatment of anaphylaxis and follow an established DST (Note: this additional education is contained within the BCCDC Immunization Competency Course, Module 10)
** Team approach: when the nursing care needs of a client include activities that are outside LPN scope of practice or the individual competencies of the LPN, the LPN seeks out the RN or RPN to jointly review the client's care needs and determine how the care needs will be met between them.
Additional limits and conditions include:
- Pharmacists are only permitted to immunize clients via IM or SC injection who are 4 years of age and older
- Pharmacists are only permitted to immunize clients via intranasal route who are 2 years of age and older
Additional limits and conditions include:
- Naturopathic physician are only permitted to administer an immunization to a child 5 years of age and older.
For more information, go to the College of Naturopathic Physicians of BC Immunization
Additional limits and conditions include:
- Midwives are only permitted to administer the following vaccines:
- Adult and newborn: Hepatitis B vaccine
- Adult: inactivated influenza vaccine, MMR vaccine, varicella vaccine, and Tdap vaccine.
- Newborn: Hepatitis B immunoglobulin
Community Paramedics are a subset of paramedics with advanced training and typically work in rural and remote communities to bridge the gap in primary care services in those communities. Paramedics, including Community Paramedics (CPs), are not regulated under the HPA, but by the Emergency Medical Assistants Licensing Branch (EMALB). A memorandum of understanding between the EMALB and the BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) enables the BCEHS to create and operate a community paramedic program, select and train staff, identify the scope of services that the community paramedic can perform, ensure the CPs remain current and competent by establishing CPD requirements and monitoring compliance, and manage complaints relating to CPs.
- Complete the BCCDC Immunization Competency Course
- Follow the BC Immunization Manual
- CPs are only permitted to administer influenza vaccine
- CPs are only permitted to immunize clients 4 years of age and older
Nurse Practitioners and Physicians do not have any limits or conditions placed on their autonomous immunization practice, however like all health professionals, must follow the professional and practice standards outlined within their scope of practice. Completion of the BCCDC Immunization Competency Course is strongly recommended for these health professional groups, as well as following the BC Immunization Manual guidelines and best practice recommendations.
For more information go to the:
In response to the SARS-CoV-2 Public Health Emergency, the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) has implemented several PHO Orders which permit Regulated and Unregulated Health Professionals to participate in the influenza and COVID-19 immunization programs. For more information, go to: