The main COVID-19 vaccine we are using in New Zealand is made by Pfizer-BioNTech. It is also known by its brand name, Comirnaty.
It is an mRNA-based (messenger ribonucleic acid) vaccine.
You need 2 doses. The standard gap between doses is 3 weeks or more.
For children aged 5 to 11, the recommended gap between doses is 8 weeks or more.
You should not get the Pfizer vaccine if you have had a severe allergic reaction to this vaccine or its ingredients.
The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is available for anyone aged 18 years and over who either wants a different option or if you cannot get the Pfizer vaccine.
It is a viral vector vaccine.
You need 2 doses. The standard gap between doses is 4 weeks or more.
You should not get the AstraZeneca vaccine if you:
- have had a severe allergic reaction to this vaccine or its ingredients
- have had a major blood clot at the same time as having low levels of platelets (thrombocytopenia) after receiving any COVID-19 vaccine
- have had Capillary Leak Syndrome (CLS — a condition causing fluid leakage from small blood vessels).
The Novavax (Nuvaxovid) COVID-19 vaccine is available for anyone aged 18 years and over who wants a different COVID-19 vaccine option.
It is a protein-based vaccine.
You need 2 doses. The standard gap between doses is 3 weeks.
Novavax is available as a booster at least 6 months after completing the primary course of any COVID-19 vaccine used in New Zealand.
How vaccines are approved for use in New Zealand
Medsafe is New Zealand’s medicines safety authority. It checks applications for all new medicines, including vaccines, to make sure they meet international standards and local requirements.
It will only recommend approving a medicine for use in New Zealand if it meets these standards.
Vaccine side effects
As with all medicines, you might experience some mild side effects when you get a COVID-19 vaccination. This is common, and a sign that your body is learning to fight the virus.
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