As COVID-19 continues to be a part of our lives, it is important to stay updated and informed as we continue to learn more. The news has been buzzing with concerns over new strains of the virus, vaccine distribution and efficacy, and safety measures.
Although you need to stay informed as a healthcare professional, burnout on the subject is real, so be sure to take care of yourself while you’re caring for others. We’ve compiled some frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccinations and nurses’ role in the process to cover the basics.
Nurses' FAQs About COVID-19 Vaccinations
What is a Nurse’s Role in Immunizations?
Nurses play a key role in patient care, so it’s not surprising that they would also provide advice and guidance about vaccinations. It is critical for nursing professionals to keep themselves well-informed about current immunization news, safety concerns, and current data about vaccinations from fact-based sources. Communication is a huge part of patient care to ensure understanding, reduce fear, and support compliance.
Another important responsibility of nurses in regard to immunization is safety. The CDC has added an addendum to their Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit to include considerations for the COVID-19 vaccines. This includes the proper storage and handling of vaccines: maintaining the cold-chain and storage temperature requirements, monitoring expiration dates, preserving records, and proper disposal.
Who Can Receive the COVID-19 Vaccines?
The distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations in the U.S. is currently being determined by governments at the federal, state, and local level. Many areas are currently prioritizing frontline essential workers such as healthcare professionals and those in long-term care facilities per CDC recommendations. Many are also including elderly populations and those with underlying medical conditions and comorbidities. Plans for expanded distribution of the vaccine will continue based on supply and as more people are vaccinated.
Who Can Administer the COVID-19 Vaccines?
Nurses can safely administer the vaccines just like other licensed healthcare providers such as physicians, physician assistants (PAs) and pharmacists. This includes licensed practical nurses/vocational nurses (LPNs/VNs), registered nurses (RNs) and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs).
Where Can I Learn More About Vaccine Administration?
The CDC is a great resource for updates and information on the COVID-19 vaccines. There are different formats of educational and training programs on a variety of topics such as CE credits, webcast, and self-study immunization courses. We recommend starting with the COVID-19 Vaccination Training Programs and Reference Materials for Healthcare Professionals document for an overview of resources for storage and handling, administration, communicating with patients, as well as other training and clinical materials. All their recommendations are made by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP).
The role of nursing is integral to the success of the COVID-19 vaccines whether you’re educating patients, receiving the vaccine yourself, or administering it to others. We appreciate all of our frontline healthcare professionals during this time and their dedication to patient care. To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines, check out our blog on what healthcare professionals need to know.