Optometrists Administering Immunizations Implementation of Assembly Bill 691

Frequently Asked Questions

Application for Optometrists to Administer Immunizations

List of Approved Certifications

1. What is Assembly Bill 691?

Assembly Bill 691 (Chau, Chapter 654, Statutes of 2021) relates to SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations: SARS-CoV-2 clinical laboratory tests or examinations. The bill expands the authority of a licensed optometrist to administer immunizations to include the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and authorizes an optometrist to perform point-of-care (CLIA Waived) COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2 antigen) tests. The bill was signed into law as an urgency measure on October 8, 2021 and the provisions are located in Business and Professions Code Sections 3041 and 3041.5.

The Board encourages licensees to review BPC Sections 3041 and 3041.5 and text of AB 691 for further information and background.

BPC Section 3041
BPC Section 3041.5

Text of Assembly Bill 691

2. What immunizations are allowed by law?

Pursuant to BPC Section 3041(d), “Immunization” means the administration of immunizations for influenza, herpes zoster virus, pneumococcus, and SARS-CoV-2 in compliance with individual Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) vaccine recommendations published by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for persons 18 years of age or older.

3. What kind of tests can I perform under the law?

Pursuant to BPC § 3041(a)(5)(E)(ii), an optometrist may order laboratory tests or examinations performed in an office classified as waived under the federal Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) (42 U.S.C. Sec. 263a; Public Law 100-578), which shall also be allowed for:

  • Detecting indicators of possible systemic disease that manifests in the eye for the purpose of facilitating appropriate referral to or consultation with a physician and surgeon.
  • Detecting the presence of SARS-CoV-2 virus.

4. What are the requirements to administer immunizations including the COVID-19 vaccine?

To obtain a certificate to administer immunizations from the Board, a licensed optometrist must do the following:

  • Hold a valid Therapeutic Pharmaceutical Agents (TPA) certificate;
  • Complete an immunization training program endorsed by the CDC or the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education that, at a minimum, includes hands-on injection technique, clinical evaluation of indications and contraindications of vaccines, and the recognition and treatment of emergency reactions to vaccines, and maintain that training;
  • Be certified in basic life support;
  • Comply with all state and federal recordkeeping and reporting requirements, including providing documentation to the patient’s primary care provider and entering information in the appropriate immunization registry designated by the immunization branch of the California State Department of Public Health:
  • Complete an application for an immunization certificate on a board approved form and pay the fee of $50.00 USD.

4. Can I count an immunization training program, as specified above, towards my biennial optometry continuing education (CE) requirements?

At this time, the immunization training program is not accepted as CE credit.

5. Do I need to renew my certificate to administer immunizations?

No, you do not need to renew your certification once it is issued.

6. Can I apply for the certificate to administer immunizations within my BreEZe account?

Not at this time; BreEZe integration is planned. For now, please apply using the form and send with required documentation and check or money order for $50.00 USD via U.S. Mail to the Board. Email applications are not accepted.

7. I am registered with the California Department of Public Health and am currently able to administer immunizations under the waiver via the Governor’s Executive Order signed on March 30, 2020. Do I still need to register with the Board?

Yes. As the bill is in law, AB 691 requires all licensed optometrists who are administering immunizations to apply with the Board for the certificate to administer immunizations.

8. I have met all the requirements above and mailed in my application, proof of requirements met and payment. How long until my certificate to administer immunizations will be issued?

Please allow 4-6 weeks for the certificate to be mailed to your address of record.