Vaccination for children aged 5 to 11

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

COVID-19 generally has mild effects in children and is rarely severe or fatal. Children 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.

Like adults, if your child is infected with COVID-19 they may transmit the virus to other people. Immunising tamariki helps protect whānau members whose health makes them more vulnerable to COVID-19.

How COVID-19 can effect 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.

Learn more about the effects of COVID-19

How it works

Children will receive a lower dose of the Pfizer vaccine

Tamariki aged 5 to 11 can get a free COVID-19 vaccine now.

They will receive a children’s (paediatric) version of the Pfizer vaccine, with a lower dose and smaller volume. It is also given using a smaller needle. The lower dose was chosen based on a trial that showed the lower dose was safe and had few side effects in this age group.

Children are not eligible for a booster or the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Children need 2 doses at least 8 weeks apart

To be fully protected, children need 2 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. We recommend the first and second dose are at least 8 weeks apart.

The interval can be shortened to a minimum of 21 days if needed — for example, if the child is starting significant immunosuppression treatment. You will need to discuss this with the child's doctor.

Giving consent

A responsible adult needs to accompany the child to their appointment(s). This can be a parent, an adult family member, trusted family friend, legal power of attorney, or whanaungatanga carer.

Consent for vaccination needs to be given by a legal guardian of the child.

If the adult who accompanies the child to the appointment is not the child’s legal guardian:

  • the vaccinator will need to verbally confirm by phone with a legal guardian that they consent to the child being vaccinated, or
  • the responsible adult can bring a signed copy of the COVID-19 vaccination consent form completed by a guardian.

This is standard consenting process.

COVID-19 vaccination consent form [PDF, 227 KB]

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. 

Vaccine safety

Medsafe is responsible for approving the use of all medicines and vaccines in New Zealand. They only approve a vaccine in Aotearoa once they are satisfied it has met strict standards for safety, efficacy and quality. 

The trials in 5 to 11-year-olds with a child dose of the Pfizer showed the vaccine was safe, and the side effects were generally mild. 

What you need to know about the Pfizer vaccine

Research and data on vaccinating children aged 5-11 | health.govt.nz (external link)

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.

Afterwards

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]

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 (5-11s) or adult vaccine (12+) from the dropdown menu.

Appointment availability map (external link)

If you need help

If you have problems booking or need to change your details, email booking@vaccine.covid19.health.nz

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. 

How to find an NHI number (external link)

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 0800 28 29 26 from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week.

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

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