COVID-19 vaccines being used in New Zealand

Learn about the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and who it has been approved for in New Zealand.

Pfizer/BioNTech (Comirnaty) vaccine

New Zealand has secured 10 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine — enough for 5 million people.

It has been approved for use in New Zealand in people aged 16 and over.

It is an mRNA vaccine, and is given in 2 doses about 3 weeks apart.

Who can have the vaccine

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (Comirnaty) is not approved for people under the age of 16 for now, as they were not part of the clinical trials.

Let your vaccinator know if you:

  • have had a severe or immediate allergic reaction to any vaccine or injection in the past
  • are taking blood-thinning medication
  • have a bleeding disorder.

Talk to a health professional first if you:

  • are receiving cancer treatment
  • have any other medical conditions or are taking other medicines.

Vaccine safety and side effects

What the vaccine contains

Comirnaty is a mRNA-based (messenger ribonucleic acid) vaccine. 

It does not contain:

  • animal products or animal DNA
  • genetically modified organisms
  • foetal cells.

Learn more about what's in the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (external link)

Effectiveness and protection

Clinical trial data from the pharmaceutical company indicates that Comirnaty has been up to 95% effective in trial participants.

As with any vaccine, Comirnaty may not fully protect everyone who gets it. We don’t yet know how long you’ll be protected for, or if it will stop you from catching and passing on the virus.

The Ministry of Health is looking at data from other countries about the impact new strains may have on how effective the vaccines are.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will not give you COVID-19. There is no possibility it could affect your DNA/genes.

How COVID-19 vaccines are being developed

COVID-19 vaccines and pregnancy

If your risk of being exposed to COVID-19 is low, the general recommendation is to wait until after you've had your baby to be vaccinated.

You can get vaccinated if you are breastfeeding.

Learn more about getting vaccinated while pregnant or breastfeeding

Getting a flu or measles vaccination

Gaps between different vaccinations

You'll need to wait at least:

  • 2 weeks between the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and influenza (flu) vaccine
  • 4 weeks between the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and the Measles Mumps Rubella vaccine.

If you're in Group 1 or 2

  • Get your COVID-19 vaccination first.
  • You can get your flu vaccine 2 weeks after your second dose.
  • If you're 15-30 years old, you may need to get a measles vaccination too.

If you're in Group 3 or 4

  • Get your flu vaccination first.
  • You can get your COVID-19 vaccination 2 weeks after this.

Last updated: