COVID-19 vaccine available for younger children at higher risk

Tamariki aged 6 months to 4 years who are immunocompromised or have multiple or complex health conditions are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.

From 9 February a version of the paediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will be available for children aged 6 months to 4 years who are at higher risk of severe disease if they were to get COVID-19.

The vaccine is an important addition to the suite of immunisations available to help protect children in Aotearoa. 

Immunisations are critically important to the health of our tamariki. Having access to a COVID-19 vaccine will provide protection to younger children who would otherwise be at risk of severe illness if they were to get COVID-19.

The vaccine contains a lower dose of mRNA that has been specially formulated for this age group and has been approved by Medsafe. It is also a 3-dose course, with the second dose given 3 weeks after the first, followed by a third dose at least 8 weeks after the second.

Following Medsafe approval, the COVID-19 Vaccine Technical Advisory Group (CV-TAG) recommended the vaccine be approved for use in children who are severely immunocompromised or who have complex or multiple health conditions which increase the risk of severe disease from COVID-19.

From tomorrow parents and guardians of eligible children will be able to book a vaccine by:

Vaccines will be available in selected locations across the country.

Eligibility criteria for young children

The vaccine is available for children aged from 6 months to 4 years who have the following health conditions: 

Health conditions include:

  • chronic lung disease
  • serious heart conditions such as congestive heart failure or congenital
  • heart disease
  • diabetes
  • chronic kidney disease
  • chronic neurological or neuromuscular disease such as cerebral palsy
  • Down syndrome
  • a weakened immune system or are on an immunosuppressive
  • treatment such as chemotherapy
  • severe haematological disorders
  • a transplant in the last 24 months.

Children who are not in any of the high-risk categories have a low likelihood of severe illness from COVID-19 meaning they will not need, or be eligible for, the vaccine.

CV-TAG will continue to review new information on COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccines and will make further recommendations if necessary.

You can find more detailed information on the eligibility criteria on the Starship website:

Risk factors for COVID-19 in children | Starship (external link)

Last updated: at