Getting your second dose

For the best protection, it is important to get 2 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

When to get your second dose

The standard gap between doses is now 3 weeks or more.

In August we extended the standard gap between first and second doses of the Pfizer vaccine from 3 to 6 weeks. This allowed us to give 1 dose (partial protection) to a larger number of people faster.

A shorter time between the 2 doses is recommended in some cases — for example, when people are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19, or have a specific clinical treatment plan.

Since then, the Delta outbreak has increased the risk of contracting COVID-19 for everyone in New Zealand, no matter where you are in the country.

Because of this increased risk, we are now advising all New Zealanders to consider a shorter gap of 3 weeks between their 2 doses, instead of the standard 6 weeks. Reducing this gap means more people can be fully vaccinated sooner, increasing our community immunity.

The minimum gap between doses will continue to be 21 days.

If the gap between your appointments is 6 weeks

If you already have vaccinations booked around 6 weeks apart, you can keep your second appointment as it is, or you can choose to change it.

New bookings made through Book My Vaccine or via the COVID Vaccine Healthline will default back to 3 weeks between doses.

The important thing is to get 2 doses of the vaccine to be fully vaccinated.

If you have already been fully vaccinated 

If you have already been fully vaccinated and had your 2 doses closer together than 6 weeks, you have received your best protection. 

Studies show that about 95% of people who have received both doses of the vaccine are protected against getting COVID-19 symptoms.

How to book your second dose

Follow the same steps as for booking your first dose, either online or over the phone. You will be asked if you have had your first dose, and which type of vaccine it was.

You can also choose to get your second dose without booking an appointment at a walk-in or drive-through vaccination centre.

Walk-in and drive-through vaccination centres

Booster doses

Under the current programme, the general public cannot receive a third booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine in New Zealand. You are considered fully vaccinated once you have had 2 doses. The Ministry of Health is reviewing the research as it becomes available and expects to make a decision about booster doses for this group in the coming months.

If you are immunocompromised

Some people over the age of 12 who are severely immunocompromised will be eligible to get a third primary dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. This third dose will be optional, but is recommended. This primary third dose is different to a booster dose for the general population.

Find more information on how to get a third primary dose

More information

Side effects

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