About booster doses
You can get a booster dose if:
- you are aged 18 or over
- you have had both primary doses of the vaccine
- it has been at least 6 months since your second dose.
You can get a booster dose by:
- booking through Book My Vaccine (external link) or calling 0800 28 29 26
- going to a walk-in or drive-through vaccination clinic
- making an appointment with your doctor, if they are doing COVID-19 vaccines.
The Pfizer vaccine is the primary vaccine being used in New Zealand for booster doses, even if you had a different vaccine for your earlier doses.
Recording booster doses
You do not need a booster dose to be 'fully vaccinated' or to get a vaccine pass or certificate. If you do get a booster dose, it will be added to My Covid Record and you can create another pass.
Who is eligible
Everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand aged 18 and over will become eligible for a booster vaccine dose 6 months after their second dose.
Healthcare and border workers are a priority for booster vaccine doses. They are at the frontline of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and large numbers had their primary doses at least 6 months ago.
We will make sure older people and kaumatua, including people in residential care, have access to booster doses when they are eligible.
Boosters are not mandatory
Currently, booster doses will not be mandatory for workers who need to be vaccinated.
Boosters are not needed to get a My Vaccine Pass or International Travel Vaccination Certificate.
If you had your vaccination overseas, you can get a Pfizer booster 6 months after you received your most recent vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine is the recommended booster dose regardless of what vaccine you had for earlier doses.
If you are immunocompromised
The booster is different to the third primary dose recommended for people who are immunocompromised. People eligible for a third primary dose can access a booster dose 6 months after receiving their third primary dose.
When to get your booster dose
If you are fully vaccinated, you remain well-protected from getting seriously ill if you do get COVID-19. While boosters are recommended for anyone who has had their second dose at least 6 months ago, there is no need to rush to get a booster.
Current evidence shows that antibody levels decrease over time after the second Pfizer vaccine dose. There is reduced protection against infection from 6 months after a primary vaccination course.
A booster dose is recommended no earlier than 6 months after you finish your primary vaccination course. The COVID vaccine booking systems and the COVID Immunisation Register (CIR) are designed to make sure there is a gap of at least 6 months before you get a booster.
When you arrive for your booster, the date of your last vaccination will be checked in the CIR to make sure it has been at least 6 months since your last vaccination.
Effectiveness of boosters
Data from Pfizer shows that a booster dose is 95.6% effective against COVID-19, including the Delta variant. This is compared to those who did not receive a booster.
At this stage, there is no data available on duration of protection against infection and disease following a booster dose. Health officials will continue to review information as it becomes available.
Side effects of boosters
Side effects of booster doses are like those from primary vaccine doses. These include pain, redness or swelling at the injection site, headache, nausea and feeling tired or fatigued.
Boosters use the same Pfizer vaccine that was used for the first two doses in New Zealand’s vaccination rollout.
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