COVID-19 vaccines

COVID-19 vaccines are free for everyone aged 5 and over. They’re also available to tamariki from 6 months who are at greater risk of severe illness if they were to get COVID-19.

Book a COVID-19 vaccine

Updated COVID-19 vaccine available in March

A vaccine to combat the newer strains of COVID-19 will be available to New Zealanders from 7 March 2024.

Read the media release on the Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora website

What the COVID-19 vaccines protect you from

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that affects your lungs, airways, and other organs.

Tamariki and young people who have COVID-19 will commonly have no symptoms or only mild respiratory symptoms, similar to a cold. However, some people can become very sick and need to go to the hospital.

Those immunised are far less likely to fall seriously ill.

More about COVID-19 – IMAC

How many COVID-19 vaccines can be given and when

When you get a COVID-19 vaccine depends on when you had your last COVID-19 vaccine or infection.

It’s recommended you wait 6 months after testing positive for COVID-19 before getting any COVID-19 vaccination.

You can check when your last vaccine was by logging into My Health Record.

My Health Record

The number of doses needed depends on your age and other clinical circumstances.

When boosters can be given

To get a booster:

  • you must have had at least your first 2 COVID-19 vaccinations
  • it’s recommended you wait at least 6 months since your last COVID-19 vaccine
  • it’s recommended you wait at least 6 months if you have had a COVID-19 infection.

Which vaccine is used


  • Everyone aged 12 and over gets the adult dose of the Pfizer vaccine. For boosters, the bivalent Pfizer vaccine is preferred. This is an updated vaccine targeting Omicron.
  • Tamariki aged 5 to 11 receive a child’s (paediatric) version of the Pfizer vaccine, with a lower dose and smaller volume.
  • Eligible tamariki aged 6 months to 4 years need 3 doses of the paediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.


The Novavax vaccine is available for ages 12 and over for a primary course, and for ages 18 and over for a booster.

If you’re pregnant, the Pfizer vaccines are the preferred choice, as there’s currently not enough data on the use of the Novavax in pregnant people.

Getting Novavax – Ministry of Health

Make a booking

COVID-19 vaccinations for individuals or groups can be booked online or over the phone.

Chat to the disability team

Side effects and reactions

Like most medicines, vaccines can sometimes cause reactions. These are usually mild, and not everyone will get them.

Mild reactions are normal and shows that your immune system is responding to the vaccine.

If you’re going to have any reactions, they normally happen in the first few days after getting vaccinated. The vaccine itself is gone from your body within a few hours or days.

The most common reaction to an immunisation includes:

  • a slight fever
  • pain or swelling where the needle went in.

Other common reactions

Other common reactions of the COVID-19 immunisation include:

  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • chills
  • joint pain
  • fever
  • redness at the injection site
  • nausea.

How to treat common reactions

Serious reactions

Serious side effects are rare. If you have any questions or concerns, talk to your doctor or nurse, or call Healthline for free on 0800 611 116.

Call 111 if you’re worried you, or your child, is having a serious reaction.

Allergic reactions

Serious allergic reactions are extremely rare. Only about 1 in 1 million people will experience this.

Your vaccinator is well-trained and knows what to look for and can treat an allergic reaction quickly if it happens.

Serious allergic reactions normally happen within the first few minutes of vaccination. This is why your tamariki need to wait for up to 20 minutes after immunisation.

Page last updated: 28 Feb 2024