Vaccination administration, have you got it RIGHT?

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PDL recognises the extraordinary efforts that pharmacists have made to provide COVID-19 vaccines to more than one million patients. It is very pleasing to report only a very small proportion of those vaccinations have included an incident. Greater awareness of areas of risk within the vaccination process, as mentioned in this alert, can hopefully minimise risk to patients, pharmacists and pharmacy owners.

The PDL Professional Officers are aware that many pharmacies are now offering two different vaccinations: Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) and Spikevax (Moderna). Given there are varying minimum age restrictions, intervals between vaccines and patient expectations, PDL would like to remind pharmacists and pharmacy owners to ensure excellent procedures are in place to avoid incidents.

Pharmacy owners should also make sure there are sufficient resources available to allow vaccinators time to provide this essential service professionally and safely.

When vaccinating patients, consider the following:

RIGHT Patient

  • Is this the patient you are expecting?
  • To prevent identity fraud and ensure accurate data upload to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR), consider checking photo identification for all patients (as per the Pharmacy Programs Administrator (PPA) communication 18th October) 
  • Check the AIR PRIOR to vaccinating

RIGHT Vaccine

  • Is this patient expecting Spikevax or Vaxzevria?
  • Is the vaccine safe and appropriate for this patient?
  • Confirm any prior COVID-19 vaccines to prevent error and manage those seeking an unapproved third dose
  • Separate all handling, preparation, storage and management of different brands
  • Consider using colour coding, clear labelling of brand AND expiry and separate vaccination sessions if possible
  • Check the AIR PRIOR to vaccinating


  • Check the patient’s date of birth and confirm their age in years matches the brand
  • Vaxzevria is for patients 18+ years only
  • Spikevax is for patients 12+ years only
  • Check the AIR PRIOR to vaccinating

RIGHT Interval

  • Check the AIR to ensure the correct interval has elapsed between doses
  • Check the current ATAGI recommendations to ensure they are being followed
  • Check the AIR PRIOR to vaccinating


  • Check the vaccine before administering – is it correct?
  • Has it been prepared correctly?
  • Administer the dose as per guidelines

The Professional Officers suggest implementing simple strategies to minimise errors, such as separate clinics for the different vaccinations, using open-ended questions to gather information and vaccination history, clear prompts to remind vaccinators about the minimum age for vaccines and excellent procedures that are followed consistently.

For immediate advice and incident support, call PDL on 1300 854 838 to speak with one of our Professional Officers. We are here to support our pharmacist members 24/7, Australia-wide.