What to expect when you get your vaccination

Find out what will happen at your COVID-19 vaccination appointments.

Vaccinations at Alert Level 2 and 3

Vaccination sites will operate under Alert Level 2 and 3 conditions. This means you legally must wear a face covering to your appointment.

Wearing a face covering

If you have a vaccination booked please go as planned — unless you have been contacted and told it is cancelled.

What will happen at your appointment

1. When you get there

A healthcare worker will talk you through what is going to happen.

You will be asked:

  • for your name, date of birth and physical address so we can verify this in the COVID Immunisation Register (you do not need to show photo ID)
  • to give your verbal consent to receive the vaccine — this is standard practice for any vaccination.

Note: If you are in Group 1, you will be asked to give written consent. This was the original consent process.

The vaccine and your privacy — Ministry of Health (external link)

2. Getting your vaccination

A fully trained vaccinator will give you the vaccine in your upper arm.

3. After receiving your vaccination

You will need to stay for at least 15 minutes after your vaccination so we can make sure you are okay.

We will record information about your COVID-19 immunisations in our COVID Immunisation Register (CIR), including the batch number. You may be given a card that shows the date you have been vaccinated.

Getting proof of your vaccination

Which vaccine you will be given

The Pfizer vaccine is the only COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in New Zealand. We have secured 10 million doses – enough for 5 million people to get the 2 doses they need to be protected.

It works by teaching your immune system to recognise and fight off the virus.

The Pfizer vaccine:

  • is a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine
  • does not contain any live virus, or dead or deactivated virus
  • cannot give you COVID-19
  • cannot affect your DNA
  • does not contain any animal products.

NZ Vaccine Facts: What is a virus and how do vaccines work?

NZ Vaccine Facts: What is an mRNA vaccine?

Delta variant

Being fully vaccinated gives you a high degree of protection against Delta infection, and an even higher degree of protection against severe illness, hospitalisation and death.

Evidence currently shows the effectiveness of 2 doses of the Pfizer vaccine against illness due to Delta infection is about 88%, and the protection against hospitalisation due to Delta infection about 96%.

Watch NZ Vaccine Facts: Do vaccines work when a virus changes?

COVID-19: About the Delta variant — Ministry of Health (external link)

Common side effects

As with all medicines, you might experience some mild side effects. This is common, and a sign that your body is learning to fight the virus.

Vaccination side effects

Getting your second dose

For the best protection, it's important to get 2 doses of the vaccine. The standard gap between doses is now 6 weeks or more.

Learn more about getting your second dose

After your vaccination

Studies show that about 95% of people who have received both doses of the vaccine are protected against getting COVID-19 symptoms. This means that once you are fully vaccinated, you are far less likely to fall seriously ill and less likely to transmit the virus to others.

To further reduce the risk of catching and transmitting the virus, it is important to follow these simple steps to slow the spread of the virus and help protect you, your whānau, and community:

  • Regularly wash and thoroughly dry your hands.
  • Sneeze and cough into your elbow.
  • Keep a 2 metre distance from people you do not know.
  • Clean or disinfect shared surfaces often.
  • Wear a face covering.
  • If you have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms, stay home and call your doctor or Healthline for free on 0800 358 5453.

Protect yourself and others from COVID-19

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