Our COVID-19 vaccination programme
Vaccinating against COVID-19 reduces the risk of the virus to you, your whānau, and your community.
Everyone in New Zealand aged 5 and over is eligible for their free COVID-19 vaccine. The type of vaccine, the strength/volume of the doses, the length of time between doses and the eligibility for booster doses, all depends on a person's age. Please see the following links on the Ministry of Health website for more information:
- COVID-19 vaccine and children: Information for parents and caregivers
- Boosters (eligibility for booster doses is anyone aged 18 and over who complete their primary COVID-19 vaccination course at least three months ago)
- AstraZeneca vaccine
- Novovax vaccine
He waka eke noa | We are all in this together, let's keep going together!
Walk-in vaccinations are available at the three main vaccination clinics in Nelson, Richmond and Blenheim. No appointments needed and there are no queues! Bring family and friends with you and pop on a face mask before you come in.
All vaccination centres offer Pfizer vaccinations for adults and children. If you are wanting to receive the AstraZeneca or Novovax vaccine, please check the vaccination centre is offering this type of vaccine before walking in.
For opening hours for each of the main vaccination centres, please see our COVID-19 Vaccination Centres listing on the Healthpoint website.
Pop-up vaccination clinics are open to everyone aged 5 and over. Current eligibility for booster doses is anyone aged 18 and over who had their second dose at least four months ago. Walk-ins are welcome at pop-ups and you don't need to be enrolled with a GP clinic.
Pop-ups offer the Pfizer vaccine for adults and children. Please note: if a pop-up is not offering the child vaccine (5-11 years), it will be specified beside the clinic location on the Healthpoint listing.
For upcoming pop-ups, please see our COVID-19 pop-up vaccination sites listing on the Healthpoint website.
Many GPs (doctors) and pharmacies are offering free vaccination, by appointment. Some pharmacies are also offering walk-ins also (no appointments needed).
To find out which GPs and pharmacies are vaccinating:
Te Piki Oranga offer a range of free kaupapa Māori clinics. Their nurses and vaccinators are also available to discuss vaccination with you and answer any of your questions.
It's normal to have lots of questions, or concerns, about vaccination.
- you could talk to your GP (doctor), practice nurse or iwi healthcare provider
- you could phone Healthline to speak to a healthcare professional also: 0800 358 5453
- you could also go online. The Ministry of Health, Karawhiua and Unite Against COVID-19 websites have lots of useful information, in FAQ format, with videos, and links to more in-depth information.
- How was the vaccine made so quickly?
- Should I get vaccinated if I'm pregnant?
- Does it work against Delta?
- Can I get a booster dose?
- Is it safe for children?
- Will I get side effects?
- Can I get a different vaccine?
- Will the vaccine stop transmission?
- side effects
- allergic reactions
- adverse events
- where to find reports of adverse events in NZ
The information below is about the Pfizer vaccine. For information about AstraZeneca or Novovax vaccines, see:
The Pfizer vaccine is an mRNA-based (messenger ribonucleic acid) vaccine, and is given in two doses. For people aged 18 and over, a booster dose can also be given three to six months after the primary COVID-19 vaccination course was completed.
The length of time between doses and the strength and volume of doses, depends on a person's age. For example, the vaccine used for tamariki aged between 5 and 11 is given eight week's apart and is a lower dose and smaller volume.
The vaccine works like other vaccines. It teaches the immune system to recognise and fight the virus.
It can’t give you the disease because it does not contain the virus, or a dead or inactivated virus, or anything that can affect our DNA. The vaccine is gone completely from your body within a few days, leaving your immune system ready for action if COVID-19 comes near you.
The Ministry of Health website has more information about:
- how the vaccine works
- how the vaccine is given
- why you need two doses to be fully vaccinated
- why a booster dose is recommended for those aged 18 and over
- new strains of the virus
- vaccine ingredients
Like all medicines, COVID-19 vaccines may cause side effects in some people. This is the body’s normal response and shows the vaccine is working.
The most common reported reactions of the Pfizer/BioNTech (Comirnaty) vaccine are:
- pain at the injection site
- a headache
- feeling tired or fatigued
- muscle aches
- feeling generally unwell
- joint pain
These are usually mild and won't stop you from having the second dose or going about your daily life.
Safety monitoring of COVID-19 vaccines and reporting of side effects
The safety of all medicines approved for use in New Zealand is checked by the New Zealand Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority (Medsafe). Medsafe will continually review any COVID-19 vaccines being used and take appropriate action if any risks are identified.
Page last updated: 11/03/2022