COVID-19 vaccine: Ages 12 to 18

Young people aged 12 to 18 are eligible for two full adult doses of the Pfizer vaccine or Novavax vaccine.

Last updated: 27 September 2022

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Vaccination for ages 12 to 18

Young people aged 12 to 18 are eligible for two full adult doses of the Pfizer vaccine or Novavax vaccine. The interval between doses is a minimum of 3 weeks.


Boosters

People under the age of 16 are not eligible for a booster. However, you can discuss specific clinical circumstances with your GP or healthcare provider.

As with all medicines, vaccines can be used outside of Medsafe approval (this is called ‘off label’) if they are prescribed by an authorised prescriber. A GP can decide whether to provide a prescription after a conversation about the benefits and risks. 

If you're aged 16 or 17, and you completed your primary vaccination course (for most people this is two doses) at least 6 months ago, you're eligible for a booster. Only Pfizer is approved for this age group.


Vaccine effectiveness

Both the Novavax vaccine and Pfizer vaccine are highly effective. That means if immunised young adults do develop COVID-19, they’re far less likely to fall seriously ill and less likely to transmit the virus to others.


Vaccine safety

Medsafe is responsible for approving the use of all medicines and vaccines in New Zealand. They only approve a vaccine in Aotearoa once they are satisfied it has met strict standards for safety, efficacy and quality.

The trials in 12 to 15-year-olds showed the vaccine was safe, and side effects were generally mild.

Millions of people aged 12 to 15 have now been vaccinated around the world, and no additional safety concerns have been raised.

The Ministry of Health also receives regular advice from science experts in the COVID-19 Vaccine Technical Advisory Group (CV TAG) which recommends the use of COVID-19 vaccines in different age groups. CV TAG have considered all scientific and technical data in recommending the use of vaccination in this age group and will continue to monitor safety data from the real-world rollout internationally and in Aotearoa New Zealand.

More information about side effects


Research and data

The safety and efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine in 12 to 15-year-olds was first evaluated through clinical trials.

There were 1,131 12 to 15-year-olds who received the vaccine in the clinical trial for this age group, and 1,129 who received a placebo.

Since the vaccine has been approved for 12 to 15-year-olds, millions of people in this age group have been vaccinated around the world.

Real-world data showing that the vaccine is safe and effective in younger populations is also emerging.


Appointments

People aged 12 to 18 can go to any vaccination site as they are given the standard adult Pfizer dose. The Novavax vaccine is available for people aged 12 and over at select vaccination sites. 

You can:

  • book appointments through Book My Vaccine
  • call the COVID Vaccination Healthline on 0800 28 29 26 (8am to 8pm, 7 days a week) and we’ll make the booking for you and answer any questions. Interpreters are available.
  • go to any walk-in or drive-through site
  • contact your usual health provider, hauora or general practice might also be offering COVID-19 vaccines for enrolled patients.

Consent

While young people aged 12 and above have the right to give their own consent, we recommend they discuss vaccination with their parents, whānau or a trusted support person.

A health professional will also discuss the vaccine with them before they get vaccinated and answer any questions they have. If they have a good understanding, they can say yes or no to getting the vaccine. If they’d prefer, a parent or caregiver can provide consent instead.

COVID-19 vaccine informed consent for young people aged 12-15 years policy statement (PDF, 176 KB)


Questions?

If you have questions or concerns, you can call 0800 28 29 26 from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week. The team will be able to chat through your concerns and, if needed, can refer you to a medical professional.

Chat to the disability team

The team is made up of people who have experience of a disability themselves, or who have worked with the disabled community.

They can answer any questions about:

  • accessibility arrangements at different vaccination centres
  • getting your vaccination safely
  • home vaccinations
  • any effects the vaccine may have on the child or medications.

The disability team is available Monday to Friday, from 8am to 8pm.

Call0800 28 29 26 and push 2
Free text: 8988
Email[email protected]

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