Vaccination for children

The COVID-19 vaccine protects your child, your whānau and your community. It is free and available now for everyone aged 5 and over.

Benefits of vaccinating tamariki

Benefits of vaccinating tamariki

How COVID-19 can affect children

COVID-19 generally has mild effects in children and is rarely severe or fatal. Children and young people who have COVID-19 will commonly have no symptoms or only mild respiratory symptoms, similar to a cold. However, some can become very sick and need to go to hospital.

Rare complications can include Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C), which may require intensive care. This age group can also suffer long-term side effects (known as long COVID), even after mild cases of COVID-19.

COVID-19 symptoms

Vaccine effectiveness

Vaccine effectiveness

If children and young people who have been vaccinated do develop COVID-19, they are far less likely to fall seriously ill and less likely to transmit the virus to others.

For children aged 5 to 11, clinical trial results showed the Pfizer vaccine was 90.7% effective against getting COVID-19 symptoms, and no participants developed severe COVID-19. 

How to talk to children about vaccination

Before their appointment

Explain that it might hurt for a short time, just like their other childhood immunisations. Tell them there will be a small needle and that they will feel a sharp scratch or sting briefly but then it will be over. They may have a sore arm, fever, headache or feel tired afterwards.

It is important to tell them why they are getting vaccinated. Let them know the vaccine will protect them against COVID-19, and protect their family, their grandparents, their community, and other kids at school who may be more at risk from COVID-19 if they catch it.

Make sure they know they will need 2 doses.

On the day

Give them time to ask the vaccinator questions if they have them. Have some games or toys ready so you can distract them during their vaccination and entertain them while you wait for 15 minutes afterwards.

Arrange a fun activity or treat to look forward to after the appointment.


Tell them that they might feel a bit unwell or a day or two, and arrange to spend some extra time with them if you can.

What to expect after your child's vaccination [PDF, 260 KB]

Explaining the vaccine to tamariki

Explaining the vaccine to tamariki

Make a booking or find a vaccination centre

There are many places around New Zealand that offer vaccinations for tamariki. Book online or over the phone, or visit a walk-in or drive-through vaccination centre.

Book online

Book My Vaccine(external link) (external link)

Check the appointment availability map first — it shows you where vaccination sites are, and how soon you can get an appointment. You can choose the child vaccine (5 to 11) or adult vaccine (12+) from the dropdown menu.

Appointment availability map | Book My Vaccine (external link)

If you need help

If you have problems booking or need to change your details, email

Book over the phone

0800 28 29 26

It is free to book over the phone, and the team is available from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week.

You can ask for an interpreter if you need one.

It is a good idea to have your child's NHI (National Health Index) number ready. This will make the booking process quicker.

Walk in or drive-through vaccination centres

There are many places around New Zealand where you can get a COVID-19 vaccine without an appointment.

Not all COVID-19 vaccination sites will be offering vaccinations to 5 to 11-year-olds.

Find a walk-in or drive-through vaccination centre near you

If you have questions or concerns

If you would like to talk through any questions or worries, you can call the COVID Vaccination Healthline on 0800 28 29 26 from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week.

The team will be able to chat through your concerns and, if needed, can refer you to a medical professional.

Last updated: at