COVID-19 vaccinations - what is expected of health practitioners

12 Mar 2021

Karen Stephens

by Karen Stephens

Doctor gives vax to senior woman

Ahpra and the 15 National Boards have published a joint statement to help registered health practitioners and students understand what’s expected of them concerning:

  • being vaccinated against COVID-19 unless medically contraindicated
  • being appropriately trained and qualified to administer COVID-19 vaccines if authorised
  • providing accurate advice and information about COVID-19 vaccination including in social media and advertising. Social media content must not contradict public health campaigns or messaging. Breaches of this may be subject to investigation and possible regulatory action by a National Board; and advertising that includes false, misleading or deceptive claims about COVID-19, including anti-vaccination material, may result in prosecution by Ahpra.

Vaccines (being prescription medicines) usually cannot be advertised to consumers, but the TGA has made exceptions

  • Government- produced advertising materials (federal, state or territory governments) about COVID-19 vaccinations
  • Factual information about COVID-19 vaccination services:
  • Location
  • Times or opening hours
  • Whether an appointment is needed and how to make one.

Advertisers must not use self-developed advertising material, and must not add:

  • vaccine tradenames or active ingredients
  • implications that harm will result from not receiving the vaccine
  • implications that the vaccine offered is superior to other vaccines
  • incentives to obtain the service or vaccine.

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This blog contains general information only. We recommend you contact your medical defence organisation or insurer when you require specific advice in relation to medico-legal matters.



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Dr Nick Coatsworth is an expert in health policy, public administration and a practising infectious diseases physician. He held a national role in the Australian response to COVID-19 as Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Australia, becoming one of the most recognised medical spokespeople during the pandemic. Nick engaged the Australian community through a variety of media platforms most notably as the spearhead of the national COVID-19 vaccination campaign. Dr Micheal Gannon, Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, sits down with Dr Nick Coatsworth to discuss Nick's medical career journey, and what insights and advice he has for junior doctors. MDA National would like to acknowledge the contributions of MDA National staff, Members, friends and colleagues in the production of the podcast and note that this work is copyright. Apart from any use permitted under applicable copyright law, you may not reproduce the content of this podcast without the permission of MDA National. This podcast contains generic information only, is intended to stimulate thought and discussion, and doesn’t account for requirements of any particular individual. The content may contain opinions which are not necessarily those of MDA National. We recommend that you always contact your indemnity provider when you require specific advice in relation to your insurance policy or medico-legal matters. MDA National Members need to contact us for specific medico-legal advice on freecall 1800 011 255 or email We may also refer you to other professional services.


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