Young people aged 12 to 15 are eligible for 2 full adult doses of the Pfizer or Novavax vaccines. Healthy children are not eligible for a booster.
Last updated: 3 May 2023
On this page:
- Vaccination for ages 12 to 15
- Vaccine effectiveness
- Vaccine safety
- Research and data
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Young people aged 12 to 15 are eligible for 2 full adult doses of the Pfizer vaccine or Novavax vaccines. The interval between doses is a minimum of 3 weeks. This age group are not eligible for a booster.
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 a booster dose on prescription. Talk to your doctor, nurse, or healthcare provider about whether this is recommended and how to get a prescription.
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.
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.
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.
- Effectiveness of Pfizer vaccine against Delta variant in adolescents
- Effectiveness of Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19 hospitalisation among 12 to 18-year-olds
- COVID-19 vaccine safety in 12 to 17-year-olds
People aged 12 to 15 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.
- 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.
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.
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.