COVID-19: Vaccine information for health professionals

Find useful resources, guidance and the latest information on the COVID-19 vaccine for the health sector, DHBs, health providers and vaccinators.

Last updated: 8 October 2021

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Clinical guidance and resources

Latest clinical updates from the newsletter

These clinical updates are from the fortnightly newsletter that's published by the COVID-19 Vaccine and Immunisation Programme, specifically for the health and disability sector.

The newsletter includes the latest COVID-19 vaccine information. You can sign up for the newsletter and see previous issues:

Vaccine updates – health sector newsletter

6 October 2021: My Covid Record, coadministration of vaccines, disability call centre, more

My Covid Record and Vaccination Certificates

From the end of November, everyone in New Zealand will be able to access a scannable QR code as proof of vaccination and COVID-19 test results. If you need official proof of vaccination or test results in the meantime, you can request your vaccination records from the Ministry of Health or use the test results you receive directly from the DHB.

Coadministration of vaccines

The influenza, MMR, HPV, diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis combination vaccine (Boostrix) and majority of other routine vaccines can now be administered before, after, or at the same time as the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The only exception to this advice is for the live-attenuated shingles vaccine (Zostavax), where a 7-day interval before or after administering Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is advised.

Disability call centre

A new call centre support team has been set up to assist disabled people and their carers to make bookings, organise support at vaccination sites and arrange transport. The 30-strong team answering calls are either disabled themselves or allies of the community. People can call the COVID Vaccination Healthline on 0800 28 29 26 for free 8 am – 8 pm Monday to Friday and push 2 to speak to the team.

Your questions answered

There is now a dedicated web page where people can go to get accurate and reliable COVID-19 information to help them and their whānau. COVID-19 vaccination: Your questions answered

We’ve also published a useful “Get the facts” brochure and are doing a massive print run for DHBs. These can be ordered these through [email protected]. You can view a copy on the vaccine resources page.

New Toolkits

We have launched three vaccination toolkits to help organisations encourage their customers, connections and members to get vaccinated. The toolkits contain assets that can be downloaded or displayed and include posters, factsheets, digital assets, frequently asked questions and links to further information and resources.

23 September 2021: Clinical toolkit, new booking map, resources for anxiety

Clinical immunisation toolkit

The Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) has published a COVID-19 Clinical Immunisation Toolkit to help ensure frontline clinical staff have the correct information at hand to provide efficient and safe vaccination. The toolkit summarises key information (such as cold chain management, vaccine preparation, consent and screening, vaccine administration and adverse events). While not intended to replace existing information, it serves as a quick reference guide. The toolkit can be found at

Pregnancy advice

Global data from the large number of pregnant people already vaccinated shows there are no additional safety concerns with getting COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccinating during pregnancy may also help protect babies as there’s evidence infants can get antibodies to the virus through cord blood and breast milk. Most importantly, the vaccine will help keep pregnant women out of hospital and also help keep them out of ICU.

Booking availability map

A booking availability map has been developed to make it easier for New Zealanders to find available bookings near them. It's available at

Resources to support people who are anxious or distressed

Many people, including disabled and autistic people, may show signs of anxiety and distress when it comes to injections and needles. Several free resources have been developed to help.

  • Explore Specialist Advice (part of Healthcare NZ) has a COVID-19 vaccination e-learning module for people assisting disabled and/or autistic people. Explore also provides virtual 1:1 support for disabled and autistic people, their whānau, family, friends and support workers through video conferencing or phone. You’ll find resources and more information about Explore Specialist Advice on the Healthcare NZ website.
  • Autism NZ website has created a short social story called Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine for anyone wanting a step-by-step explanation of what happens at a vaccine appointment. (Note that the wait time after getting the vaccine is now 15 minutes, not the 20 minutes mentioned in the story.)
  • The Ministry of Health has several resources in Alternate Formats (Easy Read, NZ Sign Language, Large print and audio).

It's also good to remind anyone who is anxious about getting the vaccine that they can take a support person with them to their vaccine appointment. They can also take things to distract or comfort them during the vaccination, such as an iPad, mobile phone, book, headphones to listen to music, or a special item.

9 September 2021: Online CPR training, Deaf and hard hearing information, Māori portal, more

Online CPR training during Alert Levels 3 and 4

During Alert Levels 3 and 4 only, online CPR training is an acceptable alternative for health professionals who need to undertake or update their CPR certification. This is an interim solution designed to ensure our vaccinator workforce can keep delivering vaccines, while also meeting the necessary health safety and quality standards.

Information to assist vaccinating Deaf and hard hearing people

Communication graphic cards and voice to text options have been developed to assist when a Deaf or hard of hearing person comes to their vaccination appointment. A reminder that deaf and hard of hearing people are entitled to have a support person, like a whānau member or friend, with them. Depending on their access needs they may also have a NZSL Interpreter or a paid support worker/personal assistant.

New COVID-19 portal for Māori

Te Puni Kōkiri’s has a new COVID-19 portal for Māori. The one-stop portal has information on COVID-19 and the vaccine rollout through Karawhiua. It includes information of particular interest to whānau and Māori communities.


Health care professionals and members of the public are reminded to be vigilant and know the signs of myocarditis and pericarditis. Myocarditis is known to be a rare side effect of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Symptoms of myocarditis can include new onset chest pain, shortness of breath and an abnormal heartbeat.

Immunisation handbook

The Immunisation Handbook 2020 has a specific chapter about COVID-19 vaccines, including detailed clinical guidance.

The handbook provides clinical guidelines for health professionals on the safest and most effective use of vaccines in their practice.

These guidelines are based on the best scientific evidence available at the time of publication, from published and unpublished literature.

Immunisation Handbook 2020

Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC)

The Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) has been contracted by the Ministry of Health to provide education, training and support to all health professionals and allied workforces during the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

Support is available via the IMAC website or 0800 IMMUNE. You can find out more about becoming a COVID-19 vaccinator or how we will build our COVID-19 vaccinator workforce.

COVID-19 education – vaccinator information (IMAC)
COVID-19 education – for health and allied workers (IMAC)

Medsafe vaccine approval and data

Medsafe have approval status updates and datasheets for the COVID-19 vaccines.

Approval status of COVID vaccine applications
Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine – Consumer medicine information summary (Medsafe)
Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine – New Zealand data sheet (Medsafe)

Āwhina app for vaccine updates

The Āwhina app puts tailored COVID-19 information in the hands of health workers.

We’re using the app to alert vaccinators and their supports to clinical, critical or time-sensitive updates. The app allows us to send immediate push notifications to vaccinators and supports.

Anyone can download Āwhina. It will be particularly useful for vaccinators, practice managers or anyone involved in the vaccination programme.

Find out more and download Āwhina

Vaccine training

The Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) are running:

  • COVID-19 vaccine training for GPs
  • a COVID-19 educator training module for authorised or pharmacist vaccinators 
  • COVID-19 provisional vaccinator training for healthcare professionals in an eligible vaccinating profession
  • COVID-19 training to enable people to become part of the new health workforce of COVID-19 vaccinators working under supervision
  • a 'Train the Trainer' programme supporting the current immunisation workforce with information to support their teams in training later.

Webinars and Q&A sessions

IMAC are also hosting a range of webinars and weekly drop-in online Q&A sessions to share what they know on COVID-19 vaccines and the rollout with health professionals.

This will include webinars for qualified health professionals interested in taking on the role of a Vaccination Clinical Supervisor for the new health workforce of COVID-19 Vaccinators working under supervision. 

See upcoming events and register – IMAC

The COVID Vaccine and Immunisation Programme run fortnightly webinars for primary and community care (Thursday mornings, 11am-12noon), providing updates and highlighting areas of work within the programme.

If you would like to receive an invitation to these webinars, that are run via Microsoft Teams, please email [email protected] 

Join the COVID-19 vaccination teams

We’re seeking interest from those who’d like to be part of the COVID-19 vaccination workforce.

Both paid and volunteer opportunities are available in various locations, and we’re looking for skills from both health and non-health backgrounds.

Read more about joining the workforce
Email: [email protected]

COVID-19 Immunisation Register (CIR)

The web-based national COVID-19 Immunisation Register (CIR) is up and running. It’s being used by vaccinators to record COVID-19 vaccinations. Once a vaccination has been entered into the CIR, automatic notifications are sent to Patient Management Systems (PMS). 

The CIR is only for COVID-19 vaccinations and all other vaccinations should continue to be recorded on the National Immunisation Register.

Accessing the CIR

Vaccinators need their own individual work email addresses to use CIR. You can’t use a practice-wide email address. This is because important information such as login credentials, password resets and important vaccinator updates are communicated via the email you provide, so a shared email address won’t work.

Reporting Adverse Events Following Immunisation (AEFI)

We encourage you to report any AEFI experienced by people who have had the COVID-19 vaccine.

  • If it’s within the initial observation period – report this in the COVID-19 Immunisation Register.
  • If it’s any other suspected AEFI – report this using the COVID-19 reporting form on the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM) website. You don’t have to be certain that the vaccine caused the event in order to report it.

Medsafe safety reports

Medsafe then closely monitors and releases a safety report showing the AEFI data each week. This shows the most common side effects that people in New Zealand experience after getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

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

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