Vaccine administration by paramedics: A model for bioterrorism and disaster response preparation

Bruce J. Walz, Richard A. Bissell, Brian J. Maguire, James A. Judge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The events of 11 September 2001 have had a profound effect on disaster planning efforts in the United States. This is true especially in the area of bioterrorism. One of the major tenets of bioterrorism response is the vaccination of at-risk populations. This paper investigates the efficacy of training emergency medical services paramedics to administer vaccines in public health settings as preparation for and response to bioterrorism events and other disaster events. The concept of vaccination administration by specially trained paramedics is not new. Various programs to provide immunizations for emergency services personnel and at-risk civilian populations have been reported. Vaccination programs by paramedics should follow the guidelines of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This paper compares the seven standards of the CDC guidelines to routine paramedic practice and education. It is concluded that paramedics are adequately trained to administer vaccines. However, specific training and protocols are needed in the areas of administrative paperwork and patient education. A proposed outline for a paramedic-training program is presented.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-326
Number of pages6
JournalPrehospital and Disaster Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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