The bivalent Pfizer vaccine has replaced the existing Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for boosters. If you've had COVID-19 it's recommended you’ll need to wait 6 months after testing positive before getting any booster.
Last updated: 15 May 2023
On this page:
- Additional booster doses
- Ages 30 and over
- Ages 16 to 29
- Ages 12 to 15
- Ages 11 and under
- How to check when your last vaccine was
- Which vaccine is used for boosters
- Book a booster
- Side effects
Ages 30 and over
If you are aged 30 and over, you can have a booster regardless of the number of boosters you have already had.
To get a booster:
- you must have had at least your first 2 COVID-19 vaccinations
- it’s recommended you wait at least 6 months since your last COVID-19 vaccine
- it’s recommended you wait at least 6 months if you have had a COVID-19 infection.
Boosters are especially recommended for:
- all people over 65 years old
- Māori and Pacific people aged 50 and over
- pregnant people with health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19
- people with disability with significant or complex health needs
- people with serious mental health conditions
- young people aged 12 to 15 who have a medical condition that increases the risk of severe illness from COVID-19 (talk to your usual doctor, nurse, or healthcare provider about whether this is recommended and how to get a prescription).
Ages 16 to 29
Healthy people aged 16 to 29 can have a 1 booster dose.
To get a booster:
- you must have had at least your first 2 COVID-19 vaccinations, and
- it’s recommended you wait at least 6 months since your last COVID-19 vaccine or infection.
Additional booster doses for 16 to 29 year olds at high risk
Some people aged 16 to 29 can have an additional booster dose. This includes:
- severely immunocompromised people
- pregnant people
- those who have a medical condition that increases the risk of severe illness from COVID-19
- those who live with disability with significant or complex health needs or multiple comorbidities.
Ages 12 to 15
Healthy children under 16 years old are not eligible for boosters.
Young people aged 12 to 15 who have a medical condition that increases the risk of severe illness from COVID-19 can get an additional booster dose on prescription. Talk to your doctor, nurse, or healthcare provider about whether this is recommended and how to get a prescription.
Children 11 years old and under
Children under the age of 12 are not eligible for boosters. However, you can discuss specific clinical circumstances with your doctor, nurse, or healthcare provider.
Children have a good immune response, and are much less likely to get severe disease or need to go to hospital if they get COVID-19.
How to check when your last vaccine was
You can check when your last vaccination was by logging into My Covid Record.
Which vaccine is used for boosters
For boosters, the bivalent Pfizer vaccine is preferred. This is an updated vaccine targeting Omicron.
If you do not want to have the bivalent vaccine, you can ask for the original Pfizer vaccine when you arrive for your vaccination.
Adults aged 18 and over can also choose Novavax. This is available at limited sites.
Vaccination sites that offer Novavax (Select 'COVID-19' under vaccine type, and then 'Novavax')
About the Pfizer BA.4/5 bivalent vaccine
The bivalent vaccine makes the immune system create antibodies against both the original variant of SARS-CoV-2 and Omicron subvariants to provide better protection.
The bivalent vaccine is recommended for eligible pregnant people at any stage of pregnancy or during breastfeeding.
Book a booster
You can book an appointment for a booster dose:
- online through Book My Vaccine, or
- by calling the COVID Vaccination Healthline on 0800 28 29 26 (8am to 8pm, 7 days a week).
Side effects of boosters
You may experience some side effects, similar to those you might’ve had after the first or second dose, such as muscle aches, pain at the injection site, or headaches.
For most people, these are mild effects. They are a sign your body’s immune system is learning to fight the virus. They don’t last long and for many people do not impact day-to-day activities.
Rare side effects of the Pfizer vaccine
Text invites to submit side effects
If you have a booster, you may be invited by text to let us know about any side effects experienced – this is called a ‘Post Vaccine Symptom Check’.
The text invite will come from Te Whatu Ora and you’ll be asked to reply ‘YES’, ‘NO’, or ‘STOP’. All replies are free of charge.
If you want to take part you’ll be sent a link to an online web form.