Information about the rollout of boosters for COVID-19.
Last updated: 19 November 2021
On this page:
- Getting a booster
- Who needs a booster
- Booster timing
- Effectiveness of boosters
- Side effects of boosters
If you are over 18 you will be able to access a booster dose the same way you got vaccinated with your primary course (for most people, a primary course is two doses). You will be eligible once 6 months have passed since your primary course.
You can also get booster doses at a walk-in clinic, pharmacy or your GP.
The Pfizer vaccine is the primary vaccine being used in New Zealand for booster doses, regardless of what vaccine was used for earlier doses.
Recording booster doses
You do not need to have a booster dose to be ‘fully vaccinated’ for My Vaccine Pass or an International Travel Vaccination Certificate.
If you do get a booster dose, it will be added to My Covid Record and you can create another pass.
Everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand aged 18 and over will become eligible for a booster vaccine dose 6 months after they finish their primary vaccination course. For most people, a primary course is two doses.
Health care and border workers are a priority for booster vaccine doses as they are at the front line of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and because large numbers of health care and border workers completed their primary vaccination course at least 6 months ago. We will also make sure older people and kaumatua, including people in residential care, have good access to booster doses when they become eligible.
Currently, booster doses will not be mandatory for workers who are required to be vaccinated, or to get a vaccine status certificate used to access events, gyms, churches, hairdressers and other services and premises.
If you were vaccinated overseas, you can get a Pfizer booster 6 months after you received your most recent vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine is the recommended booster dose regardless of what vaccine was used for earlier doses.
Severely immunocompromised people
The booster is different to the third primary dose recommended for severely immunocompromised people. People eligible for a third primary dose can access a booster fourth dose 6 months after receiving their third primary dose.
Fully vaccinated people remain well protected from being seriously ill if they do get COVID-19. While boosters are recommended for anyone who has had their second dose at least 6 months ago, there’s no need to rush to get a booster.
Current evidence shows that antibody levels against COVID-19 wane over time after the second Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine dose, and that there is a reduction in protection against infection, particularly from 6 months after a primary vaccination course.
A booster dose is recommended no earlier than 6 months after you finish your primary vaccination course. The COVID vaccine booking systems and the COVID Immunisation Register (CIR) are designed to make sure there is a gap of at least 6 months before you get a booster.
Pfizer has released preliminary trial data indicating that a booster dose showed a relative vaccine efficacy of 95.6 percent against symptomatic disease (predominantly Delta-variant), when compared to those who did not receive a booster (only received two primary doses).
At this stage, there is no data available on duration of protection against infection and disease following a booster dose. Health officials and the COVID-19 Vaccine Technical Advisory Group will continue to review information as it becomes available.
The common mild and transient side effects after booster doses are comparable to those from primary vaccine doses. This includes pain, redness or swelling at the injection site, headache, nausea and feeling tired or fatigued.
Boosters use the same Pfizer vaccine that was used for the first two doses in New Zealand’s vaccination rollout.