Who can get a COVID-19 vaccination

Find advice about the COVID-19 vaccine for specific groups and health conditions.

The COVID-19 vaccine is free for everyone in New Zealand

You’ll be offered the vaccine if you’re aged 16 or over — it doesn’t matter what your visa or citizenship status is.

We’ll have enough of the Pfizer vaccine for everyone to get the 2 doses they need to be protected.

Find out when you can get a vaccine

If you’re under 16

People under the age of 16 are not able to get the Pfizer vaccine at this stage.

If you’re over 65 years old

The Pfizer vaccine has been shown to be highly effective and safe in people aged over 65 years.

If you have an underlying health condition

Consistently high efficacy of over 92% was observed in the clinical trials for the Pfizer vaccine across age, sex, race, ethnicity, and people with underlying medical conditions.

You can get early access to the COVID-19 vaccine if you're aged 16 years and over, and meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • You have a health condition that means you are eligible for a publicly funded influenza vaccine, including pregnant people.
  • You have been diagnosed with severe mental illness (which includes schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder or schizoaffective disorder, and adults currently accessing secondary and tertiary mental health and addiction services).
  • You have poorly controlled or severe hypertension (hypertension is another name for high blood pressure). In this case, severe is defined as requiring 2 or more medications for control.
  • You are severely obese (defined as a BMI ≥40).

Eligibility criteria for a publicly funded influenza vaccine — Immunisation Advisory Centre(external link) (external link)

Healthy weight BMI calculator — Ministry of Health (external link)

Vaccine advice for people with underlying health conditions (external link)

If you’ve had an allergic reaction to any vaccine

If you’ve had a serious or immediate allergic reaction to any vaccine or injection in the past, discuss this with your vaccinator.

If you have a history of anaphylaxis

You shouldn’t get the Pfizer vaccine if you have a history of anaphylaxis:

  • to any ingredient in the Pfizer vaccine
  • to a previous dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

What’s in the Pfizer vaccine — Ministry of Health (external link)

If you’re unwell or have a fever

If you’re unwell on the day of your appointment or have a fever over 38°C, it’s important to delay your COVID-19 vaccination until you’re feeling better.

If you’re getting another vaccine

For information about when you should get your flu, MMR and pregnancy vaccinations if you're also getting a COVID-19 vaccination, visit the Ministry of Health website.

Getting other vaccines — Ministry of Health (external link)

If you had your first dose in another country

A range of different COVID-19 vaccines are being used internationally. 

If your first dose was the Pfizer vaccine

You can have your second dose in New Zealand. You'll need a gap of at least 21 days (3 weeks) between your first and second dose.

Currently, there is no maximum time limit between doses – you won’t need to repeat the first dose or get a third dose.

If your first dose was a different vaccine

We recommend you get a dose of the Pfizer vaccine when it becomes available to you in New Zealand.

These vaccines are not interchangeable, but you’re likely to have a good response to an additional single dose of the Pfizer vaccine. This is because all the vaccines target the immune response to the same part of the COVID-19 virus.

If you've had a COVID-19 vaccine overseas — Ministry of Health (external link)

If you have another health concern or are pregnant

The Ministry of Health website has more advice about getting vaccinated for people who are:

  • pregnant
  • breastfeeding
  • trying for a baby
  • have a health condition
  • disabled
  • getting treatment
  • taking medication.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding vaccine advice — Ministry of Health (external link)

CT scans and mammograms vaccine advice — Ministry of Health (external link)

Disabled people vaccine advice — Ministry of Health (external link)

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