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COVID-19 vaccination information

We know there is a lot of information out there and it can be hard to know where to begin. We are bringing together the most important information on the vaccine and the roll-out programme so that you and your whānau can be sure what you are receiving is accurate and relevant. We will update this page as more information becomes available.

We encourage you to rely on these reputable sources of information to help you make informed choices and stay up to date on the latest information about the vaccine. We want to help you feel confident that you are making the right decision for yourself, your whānau, and your community.

The national COVID-19 vaccination programme is under way.

The roll-out is happening in stages and each district health board (DHB) is managing the programme in its rohe. In some regions the roll-out is further along than others.

The vaccine is free and is available to anyone aged 16 and over in Aotearoa who wants it. The aim is to have most of the population vaccinated by the end of 2021.

Helpful Links

When you can get a vaccine – Use this tool from the Unite Against COVID-19 website to find out when you and your whānau can get your COVID-19 vaccination.

Where you can get a vaccine – This page provides general information about where you and your whānau can get your vaccination. For more specific information, refer to your local district health board (DHB).

How to book a vaccine appointment – Find out how you can book an appointment to receive the vaccine. At this stage there is only information for groups 1, 2 and 3. Vaccinations for Group 4 will start from 28 July.

Finding trustworthy information about vaccines – How to know if what you are reading is reliable and where to find the facts.

Be a doer! Karawhiua – Discover how being vaccinated is the best way to protect our whānau and communities.

Regional Information

Please refer to the region in which you live for the information most relevant to you and your whānau. Each district health board (DHB) across the country is managing the programme in its rohe, so the information differs from region to region.

North Island

South Island

Frequently Asked Questions

When can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The vaccine roll-out programme has split the population into four groups and first focuses on people at greater risk. See the next pātai for information on the groups (note: the dates are estimates). As each district health board (DHB) is managing the programme in its rohe, some regions are further ahead in the programme than others. To find out when you can expect to receive the vaccine, use this tool

What are the four vaccine groups?

  • Rōpū 1: Border, managed isolation, and quarantine workers — started late February 2021
    Border and managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) workers and their families/household contacts
  • Rōpū 2: High-risk frontline workers and people living in high-risk places — started late March 2021
    • High-risk frontline healthcare workers
    • Long-term residential care workers
    • Whānau living in high-risk places such as kaumātua being cared for by whānau or whānau in residential care
    • Whānau living in the Counties Manakau District Health Board who:
      • Are aged over 65
      • Have an underlying health condition or disability
      • Are hapū
      • Or are living in a custodial setting
  • Rōpū 3: People who are at risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 — started late May
    • Whānau aged over 65
      • Whānau with a relevant underlying health condition
      • Disabled whānau
      • Adult whānau living in a custodial setting
  • Rōpū 4: Everyone – being vaccinated from July
    All remaining whānau aged 16 and over

What COVID-19 vaccines are available in Aotearoa?

Government has secured enough supply of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for everyone in Aotearoa (and our Pacific Island neighbours) aged 16 and over who wishes to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Ministry of Health recently announced that Medsafe has granted provisional approval of the single dose Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for individuals aged 18 years of age and older. Medsafe’s provisional approval is the first step, there is further consideration required by Cabinet on options for the use of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine in New Zealand.

There is enough Pfizer vaccine to ensure total coverage of Aotearoa, the Janssen vaccine is an additional layer of vaccine coverage, not a replacement. Delivery of the Janssen vaccine is unlikely to be before the last quarter of 2021.

We will update this page as more information becomes available.

How is the vaccine given? How many doses of the vaccine do I need?

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is given as an injection into the muscle of your upper arm. Staff will observe you for at least 20 minutes after your injection.

You will need two doses of this vaccine to be protected against COVID-19. The second dose is given at least three weeks later. It is important you receive both doses as the first dose will give you up to 50-60% protection and the second dose brings your level of protection up to 90-95%.

Who can get vaccinated?

Everyone aged 16 years and older in Aotearoa can be vaccinated. If you have any serious health conditions, please check with your whānau GP first.

Does the vaccine cost anything?

Kāo. The COVID-19 vaccine is free  in Aotearoa. You will not be asked to pay for the vaccine, and you will not be asked to pay for an appointment to get it.

How does the vaccine work?

The COVID-19 vaccine, like all vaccines, protects your health by working with your body’s natural defences. It teaches your body to recognise the virus so it can respond and protect you against it.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will not give you COVID-19. It does not contain any live, dead, or deactivated viruses. It works by triggering your immune system to produce antibodies and blood cells that work against the COVID-19 virus.

Does the vaccine contain the COVID-19 virus? What is in it?

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine does not contain any live, dead, or deactivated viruses. There are no animal products in it. It is a mRNA-based (messenger ribonucleic acid) vaccine, and the active ingredient is 30µg of a nucleoside modified messenger RNA encoding the viral spike (S) glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2. Click here to find out what this means in plain language.

What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?

Like all medicines, the vaccine may cause side effects in some people. These are common, are usually mild and do not last long. They may be more common after your second dose. They are the body’s normal response and shows the vaccine is working.

With the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, the most common reported reactions are:

  • pain at the injection site
  • a headache
  • feeling tired or fatigued
  • muscle aches
  • feeling generally unwell
  • chills
  • fever
  • joint pain
  • nausea

These are usually mild and shouldn’t stop you from having the second dose or going about your daily life.

Will the vaccine be effective against new strains of the virus?

The Ministry of Health is looking at information from other countries about how any new COVID-19 strains may impact how the vaccine works. There is the likelihood that the vaccine will require changes over the years, in the same way the influenza vaccine changes each year.

Sources: United Against COVID-19 website and the Ministry of Health website