COVID-19: Vaccine appointments

Find out how to book a vaccination appointment. What to expect on the day, how your COVID-19 vaccine is given and keeping a record of your vaccine.

Last updated: 11 May 2021

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Getting your COVID-19 vaccine – what to expect (PDF, 101 KB)

When it’s your turn to be vaccinated

We’ll let you know when it’s your turn for the vaccine. You’ll be offered the vaccine at different times depending on what group you fall under and when supply is available.

If, for whatever reason you don’t get vaccinated at that time, you can choose to do so later. You won’t have missed your chance.

When you can get a vaccine

Getting an early vaccination

At this stage, you can only apply for an early COVID-19 vaccine if you have an urgent need to travel outside of New Zealand. This is only for compassionate reasons or those of national significance. You'll need to meet specific criteria.

Applying for an early vaccine for travel

How to book a vaccine appointment

We'll provide more detailed information about appointments for the different groups closer to the time they can be vaccinated.

Group 1 –currently being vaccinated

Border and managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) workers

If you’re a border or MIQ worker, a health worker from your regional DHB will then get in touch and invite you to be vaccinated. You can book your vaccination at the same time as your regular testing schedule.

When you get an appointment, you'll also be sent a link to an online form to provide details of the people you live with.

If you’re not contacted by a health worker to make an appointment, let your employer know. They’ll sort this for you.

Advice about the vaccine – for all border and MIQ workers (PDF, 110 KB)
Advice about the vaccination process – for all border and MIQ workers (PDF, 101 KB)

People living with border or MIQ workers

The border or MIQ worker that you live with will nominate you and provide your contact details when they make their vaccine appointment.

You’ll then be contacted by your health provider to confirm an appointment for your vaccination. If you don't hear anything within one week, you can contact Healthline to confirm your details are in the system.

Phone 0800 282 926

Information for people who live with border and MIQ workers (PDF, 121 KB)

Group 2 – currently being vaccinated

High-risk frontline healthcare workers and people living in high-risk places

If you're a frontline healthcare worker, you can expect an invitation to be vaccinated from your employer, local district health board (DHB) or health provider. If you haven't received an invitation yet, speak to your employer or contact your local DHB.

District health board vaccine rollout

All other people in group 2 can find more information about when they will be vaccinated, and how appointments will be made on their district health board (DHB) website. 

Each DHB around New Zealand is managing the rollout of the vaccine in their area. Exactly how and when people are contacted may differ between regions.

Vaccine rollout information by DHB

Group 3 – being vaccinated from May

People who are at risk of getting very sick from COVID-19

If you’re in group 3, you can expect an invitation to be vaccinated from your local DHB from late May. There are about 1.7 million people in group 3, so you may not get an invitation immediately.

With such a large group of people, DHBs need the flexibility to respond to the needs of their local communities. At times, this could mean vaccinating some priority groups ahead of others.

You'll be able to get more information on your local DHB’s website once vaccinations for group 3 start.

Vaccine rollout information by DHB

Group 4 – being vaccinated from July

General population

You don’t need to do anything just yet. We’ll let you know when it’s your turn to be vaccinated and provide more details closer to the time.

Group 4 – when you can get a vaccine

If you need to change your appointment

When your vaccine appointment is confirmed, you’ll get instructions on what to do if you need to reschedule your appointment for any reason.

If you’re sick before your appointment

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, get a test and stay at home until you get your results. You can be vaccinated once you have a negative test.

If you’re otherwise unwell and can’t make your appointment, you’ll need to reschedule this as soon as possible.

What vaccine you’ll get

What vaccine you get depends on availability. You can’t choose what type of vaccine you’ll get.

Pfizer is New Zealand’s primary vaccine provider and currently the only approved vaccine to use in New Zealand. We've secured enough for 5 million people to get the two doses of the vaccine they need against COVID-19.

Pfizer vaccine

What to expect at your appointment

At your appointment, a health professional will tell you about the vaccination process and what to expect. They'll run through your medical history to make sure it's safe for you to have the vaccine.

Giving your details and consent

You’ll need to give verbal or written consent to receive the vaccine. This is standard procedure for any vaccination. If you're in group 1, you must give written consent – this was the original consent process so it ensures we're consistent.

You’ll be asked for your name, date of birth and physical address so we can verify this in the COVID Immunisation Register (CIR). Photo ID is not needed.

If you’re a border or MIQ worker, you’ll be asked for your permission to notify your employer that you’ve received the vaccine.

How the vaccine is given

A trained vaccinator will give you your first dose of the Pfizer vaccine into your upper arm.

How long you’ll need to wait

After your vaccine, you’ll need to stay behind for at least 20 minutes. This is a precaution to make sure you don’t have any immediate allergic or adverse reactions.

You may need to wait longer if:

  • you have had a severe reaction to a vaccine or other product in the past
  • you have a long way to travel after your vaccination.  

Allergic reactions and side effects

Serious allergic reactions do happen but are extremely rare. If you have a reaction when getting the vaccine, staff will be on hand and trained to treat these immediately.

The most commonly reported reactions are:

  • pain at the injection site
  • a headache
  • feeling tired or fatigued. 

Muscle aches, feeling generally unwell, chills, fever, joint pain and nausea may also occur. This shows that the vaccine is working. These are more commonly reported after the second dose.

Common side effects

You can see the most commonly reported side effects that New Zealanders have experienced after getting the Pfizer vaccine. Safety reports are released each week.

Medsafe safety reports: Adverse events following immunisation with COVID-19 vaccines

Recording your vaccination

Information about your COVID-19 immunisations will be recorded in our COVID Immunisation Register (CIR). 

Before you leave, you’ll be given a record card with your immunisation date and the batch number.

Your privacy when getting vaccinated

Vaccine data

Our vaccination dashboard shows a snapshot of our vaccination progress. You can see the number of people who have received their vaccination so far.

Vaccine data

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