Do Nurses need an order to administer the COVID-19 Vaccine?
Nurses play a critical role in the COVID-19 vaccination rollout.
There is a new exemption for some Registered Nurses (RN), Registered Practical Nurses (RPN) and certain pharmacists to administer the COVID-19 vaccine without an order.
The Ministry of Health recently created this exemption by amendment to the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA, which lists controlled acts that are restricted to certain individuals to support safe patient care and include “administering a substance by injection.”
The new exemption does not apply to all nurses, however. Only nurses practicing in organizations that have an agreement with the Minister of Health related to administration of the COVID-19 vaccine are covered.
These organizations include, for example, municipally run vaccination sites, hospital sites, mobile vaccination sites, pharmacies, clinics, primary care settings and community locations such as community health centres and aboriginal health access centres.
“Some nurses are now permitted to administer the COVID-19 Vaccine without a physician’s order.”
The College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) reminds nurses that they are accountable for understanding and complying with the requirements and maintaining competence to provide safe and effective care to the public. This includes having the knowledge, skill and judgment to administer a vaccine.
The CNO also has some general resources available to address nurses’ frequently asked questions on this topic.
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Carina Lentsch is an Ontario health lawyer and an advocate for nurses. She helps nurses involved in CNO investigations, fitness-to-practice and discipline matters.
Carina writes about legal issues affecting nurses and other health care professionals. Subscribe to her newsletter and follow her on Facebook for updates. To learn more about Carina’s law practice, click here.