We're here to help.
In order for the programme to be successful, the Ministry of Health has advised that it’s important to vaccinate as many people as possible. The more people who are vaccinated, the closer we move our population towards immunity.
Of course, we expect everyone to have a lot of questions!
At Tāmaki Health, we want to make sure our patients and communities feel safe and reassured, and have the information needed to make decisions for their health.
You can find all of the information on the COVID-19 Vaccination you need, below.
When can you get your vaccination?
|From February||From March||From May||From July|
|Group 1 - Border and MIQ workers and the people they live with||Group 2 - High-risk frontline workers and people living in high-risk places||Group 3 - People who are at risk of getting very sick from COVID-19||Group 4 - People who are at risk of getting very sick from COVID-19|
|Underway and on track||Underway – we'll provide more details soon||You don't need to do anything just yet||You don't need to do anything just yet|
Your questions, answered.
We've heard from our communities that there are a lot of unanswered questions around the COVID-19 Vaccination. We want to make sure you feel safe and certain about your decision to get vaccinated, so we've answered as many as possible below - and we'll keep updating as we know more.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?
The COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine has been provisionally approved Medsafe, New Zealand’s own medicines safety authority.
Provisional consent means the pharmaceutical company producing the vaccine must meet certain conditions, including supplying more data from its clinical trials around the world.
Can I be vaccinated by my GP?
No. COVID-19 vaccinations can only be given at specific Vaccination Hubs.
How does the COVID-19 vaccine work?
Vaccines work by teaching the body’s immune system to respond quickly to infection without being exposed to the infection itself.
This means that the vaccine doesn’t actually use the virus cells at all.
Instead, the vaccine contains a messenger RNA code (messenger ribonucleic acid: a single-stranded molecule that carries genetic code) that essentially teaches your body to recognise the virus, and helps your body to be ready to respond straight away if you’re infected with COVID-19.
The vaccination will not give you COVID-19 and it will not affect your DNA or genes. It does not contain any live virus, or dead or deactivated virus.
How was the COVID-19 vaccine created so fast?
Global scientists and governments have been working together and sharing data to improve the speed of vaccine development and clinical trials. There has never been this level of collaboration globally, which has meant we’ve been able to fast-track the process.
We’re also continuing to receive data from large clinical trials thanks to innovative technology, which allows us to monitor the safety of vaccines. This has meant that safety approvals that used to take a long time have happened faster.
Are there any side effects?
Like all medicines, the vaccine may cause side effects in some people. Usually, these are mild and only last for a few days. They won’t stop you from having the second dose or going about your day as usual.
The most common reactions are:
- pain at the injection site
- a headache
- feeling tired or fatigued
- muscle aches
- feeling generally unwell
- joint pain
Some side effects may temporarily affect your ability to drive or use machinery. Serious reactions are very rare.
Who can get the COVID-19 vaccination?
The Pfizer vaccine has been approved for everyone in New Zealand, 16 years and older.
If you’re under 16 years old
Limited data is available for this age group as they weren’t part of the clinical trials, so for now, vaccines are only available for over-16’s.
If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding
Pregnant women are at risk of becoming very sick if they contract COVID-19. For this reason, they’re a high priority to get vaccinated and can get early access.
If you’re pregnant, breastfeeding or planning to have a baby, you should discuss your situation and the benefits and risks of receiving the vaccine with your midwife or doctor.
The Immunisation Advisory Board has also created a useful information sheet for pregnant people which you can read, here.
If you’re receiving cancer treatment
You should get advice from your specialist if you’re receiving these cancer therapies:
- Pembrolizumab (Keytruda)
- Nivolumab (Opdivo)
- Ipilimumab (Yervoy)
- Atezolizumab (Tecentriq)
If you’re not sure whether the vaccination is right for you, we encourage you to visit your GP or specialist and discuss your specific situation before making a decision.
How many doses of the vaccine will I need?
You will need two doses in total to get the best protection against COVID-19. You will be asked to get your second dose of the vaccine at least 3 weeks.
Will other vaccinations (such as Influenza or MMR) impact my COVID-19 vaccine?
- A two-week gap is recommended between any non-live vaccine, including influenza vaccine, and the COVID-19 vaccine
- A four-week gap is recommended for MMR or any other live vaccines
How is the vaccine given?
The vaccination is given as an injection into the muscle of your upper arm. You’ll need two doses in total.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine free?
Yes! The vaccine is free for anyone in New Zealand, regardless of your immigration or citizenship status.
Can I receive the COVID-19 Vaccine if I have a long-term condition or compromised immune system?
Many people take medication that suppresses their immune system, especially for the treatment of cancer, severe asthma, autoimmune diseases or following organ transplantation, or have medical conditions that can affect the immune system, such as HIV infection or kidney failure.
These conditions put you at increased risk from COVID-19, and although you may not respond as strongly to the vaccine as someone with a fully functioning immune system, it is safe for you received COVID-19 vaccine and it will provide some protection against COVID-19, particularly against severe and life-threatening disease.
What if I have any questions on the day?
Our nurses and team will be right there with you to answer any further questions you might have. We encourage you to ask if you’re not sure, and let us know if there’s anything further we can do to make sure you feel safe and supported.
Want more information?
You can read more about the COVID-19 Vaccination at the following official and verified sources: