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COVID Vaccine and Rollout

Vaccinations under Alert Level 2

Vaccinations are now available to everyone in New Zealand aged 12 and over, and the vaccination programme is continuing at all Alert Levels. You can book your appointment online at or 0800 28 29 26.

Possible reduced capacity at sites

Some vaccination sites may operate at a reduced capacity due to Alert Level restrictions. Therefore, some members of the public may receive a notification postponing their appointment and asking them to rebook another appointment. We ask that people who do receive this message do not turn up to their original appointment and follow the instructions to reschedule via or 0800 28 29 26.


COVID-19 vaccine rollout

vaccinated character

Protect yourself and the community

The Southern District's COVID-19 vaccination rollout is now underway, with the goal of offering the two dose COVID-19 vaccination to all Southern residents, by the end of this year. The vaccine is free to everyone.

Southern vaccine clinics and booking information can be found here.





What does this mean for you in the Southern District? 

Vaccines for those aged 12-15

Why has the government approved vaccines for children aged 12-15?
Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect ourselves and our whānau. The more of us who are vaccinated in our community, the greater our immunity. We want to protect young people and their families from COVID-19.

Is it safe for a young person aged between 12-15 years to get the COVID-19 Vaccine? 
Medsafe have approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for those aged 12-15 years old. It has already been used in this age group overseas.  Medsafe only grants consent for a vaccine in Aotearoa New Zealand once they’re satisfied it has passed required levels of safety and effectiveness. 

Do young people have the same side effects as adults? 
Young people get similar rates of side effects such as fatigue, headache, fever, and tiredness as adults. 
I’ve already booked my vaccine appointment; how do I get my 12 – 15 year-old added to my booking?
Call 0800 28 29 26 (8am-8pm, 7 days a week) to see if your vaccination site has space to add your 12-15 year old to the booking.  If not, you can cancel your booking and create a new one later that can fit you all in.

Do they need to provide ID?
Identification is not required, but staff will check your personal details when you arrive for your appointment. 

I have an 11-year-old child who turns 12 in the next few months, can they get it early?
No. Medsafe and Cabinet have only approved for those aged 12 years and above to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and anyone under 12 years will need to wait until they are eligible. 

Who can give informed consent? 
Those aged between 12 and 15 years who go to their usual healthcare provider or a COVID-19 vaccination centre for a COVID-19 vaccine can provide informed consent, if deemed competent to consent, and be given the vaccine.  

A parent or caregiver is also able to give informed consent on behalf of the young person.

Is it legal for minors to provide their own consent to be vaccinated?
As with other vaccination programmes and under New Zealand law, children under the age of 16 years may give or withhold consent to healthcare treatment, so long as they are competent to do so. 

It is the role of the healthcare professional to decide whether a child is competent. 
A child can be considered competent to consent “when a child achieves sufficient understanding and maturity to fully comprehend the proposed treatment”.

Does a parent of legal guardian need to be present or provide consent for the younger person aged 12-15 years?
Under the code of consumer rights, every consumer, including a child, has the right to the information they need to make an informed choice or to give informed consent. Therefore, a younger person can provide their own informed consent and a parent or guardian does not need to provide consent or be present.

What if my parent or guardian doesn’t want me to get the vaccine?
Where possible we recommend discussing the vaccination with your whānau or a trusted support person or adult. However, as a 12-15-year-old your parent or guardian’s permission is not required if your healthcare provider is confident you are deemed competent to give consent.

Vaccine safety

What is the vaccination advice for those who have already had COVID-19 and have antibodies? 
Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible—although rare—that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again. 

How can we be confident that the vaccine is safe in the long-term given the short development and testing period?
In New Zealand, applications for all new medicines, including vaccines, are assessed by New Zealand's Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority (Medsafe). Medsafe is responsible for regulating all medicines and medical devices in New Zealand. They are part of the Ministry of Health. Medsafe will only approve a vaccine for use in New Zealand once they are confident it meets all the safety checks we have in New Zealand and complies with international standards for safety effectiveness and quality of the vaccine.

What does the COVID-19 vaccine mean for my flu vaccination?
The priority is for all frontline health staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before the influenza vaccination. Once you have had both doses of COVID-19, you should wait two weeks before you can have your flu vaccination. If you are not a frontline health worker you can choose to have your flu vaccination first, you must then wait two weeks until you can have your first COVID-19 vaccination.  

What is the latest advice about myocarditis?
It has been concluded by Medsafe, other regulators and Pfizer that myocarditis is a rare side effect of vaccination with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. 
Globally, the rate appears to be highest in younger men (18-24 years old) and after the second dose.Most people with myocarditis reported after vaccination recover completely, without treatment, and have no lasting symptoms or complications.
Since the majority of cases are mild and require no specific treatment, the benefits of vaccination continue to out-weigh the risk of experiencing this or the other known side effects.
In New Zealand, there have been only 20 events of myocarditis reported to the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM) (as at 10 August).

What are the symptoms of myocarditis?
The symptoms of myocarditis following vaccination usually occur within 7 days following dose 2, and include chest pain, shortness of breath and racing pulse. Consumers with these symptoms should be advised to seek medical attention immediately. The risk of myocarditis after being vaccinated is rare

Vaccine rollout

What vaccine is being used in New Zealand?
The Pfizer vaccine is the only COVID-19 vaccine currently being used in New Zealand. For more information on the Pfizer vaccine, visit the Unite Against COVID-19 website Medsafe has granted provisional approval of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine and the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for individuals age 18 years of age and older but this does not mean we have committed to using them in New Zealand. 

Where will my nearest vaccine location be? 
Locations include Māori and Pacific providers, doctors, pop-up centres, pharmacies, medical and hauora centres and community clinics. Find your nearest clinic.You can make a vaccination appointment now through or by calling 0800 28 29 26.

Interval between doses

Why is there now a six-week gap between first and second doses?
When the rollout began, most people had a three week gap between doses. This has now moved to a six-week gap between first and second doses because it allows us to give one dose (partial protection) to a larger number of people faster.

Early findings from a small number of well-designed studies show that an extended duration between doses of the Pfizer vaccine gives a robust immune response.

I have already been vaccinated and my doses were closer than six weeks apart. Am I still protected? Is this safe?
If you have already had both your doses three-weeks apart you have received your best protection against COVID-19. We know the three-week gap is highly effective.

How does this align with what other countries are doing?
This guidance is in line with other international programmes using the Pfizer vaccine. 
For example, Denmark and Norway range between 6 and 12 weeks. The USA uses 3 weeks but allows 42 days (6 weeks). ATAGI (Australia) recommend 3-6 weeks. 

Will this impact the timing of the overall roll out?
We’re progressing well with our rollout plan and are on track to make the vaccine available to everyone in New Zealand aged over 16 by the end of the year.

Can I get my second dose less than six weeks after my first dose?
Six weeks is the new standard time between doses, but this won’t suit everyone’s personal circumstances. Two doses of the vaccine is your best protection. However, vaccine doses must be at least 21 days apart.

What about those people who are at higher risk, should they still wait 6 weeks?
Those at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 like border workers may be advised to have their doses at three weeks apart. Some people (such as those about to start immunosuppression therapy) may need to have their doses closer together to be fully vaccinated before their treatment. However, 
vaccine doses must be at least 21 days apart. 

I already have a booking. Can I change it?
If you already have a booking, you can reschedule it at If you need assistance, call the COVID Vaccination Healthline 0800 28 29 26 (8am – 8pm, 7 days).
If your booking is through your GP, pharmacy or other primary health care provider, you should contact them to discuss changing your booking.
If you have any health-related questions or concerns, you can discuss them with your primary care provider or Healthline.

My whānau wants to get vaccinated together, do we all have to wait six weeks?
A whānau-centred approach to vaccinations continues - that means whānau and aiga can still be vaccinated as a roopu. We suggest this is done at a six-week interval between doses.

What impact does this have on the rollout to the Realm countries (Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau)?
Niue has finished its vaccination roll out. Cook Islands and Tokelau vaccine roll outs are currently  underway. Their governments will decide how they wish to implement this guidance.

What does this mean for people already in the system – Group 1, 2, 3 and 4?
If you already have a booking, you can choose to reschedule it at or by phoning the COVID Vaccination Healthline 0800 28 29 26 (8am – 8pm, 7 days). If your booking is through your GP, pharmacy or other primary health care provider, you should contact them to discuss changing your booking.

There will be situations where the timeframe between doses will differ from the recommendation for example, someone travelling overseas may require their doses sooner. This is ok too – it’s better to get two doses of the vaccine than to wait.

Accessibility and support

The Ministry of Health has provided resources about COVID-19 in a variety of accessible formats.

Are your clinics accessible to those using wheelchairs or mobility aids?
Our mass-vaccination clinic spaces in Dunedin and Invercargill are accessible for wheelchairs and mobility aids. There are also many other locations across the Southern district where you can receive your vaccine, including GPs and pharmacies. Please contact these individual providers to discuss their accessibility.

Can I bring a support person or assistance animal to my vaccination appointment?
Yes, you are welcome to bring a support person or certified assistance dog. 

Is there support for sensory, auditory or other sensitivities?
If you experience environmental sensitivities, please email or call 0800 829 768 and we will do our best to support your requirements. 

Are interpretation or NZ Sign Language services available?
If you require an interpreter during your appointment, please contact Patient Affairs and Enquiries office on 03 474 0999, or email Interpretation services are available in 55 languages and are free of charge.

Is there any written information I need to read or sign at my appointment?
No, there is not. All information will be communicated verbally. Vaccine consent is also verbal. If for any reason this is not the case, you will be provided with support. 

I am unable to leave the house due to health reasons. How can I get my vaccine?
If you are unable to leave your home due to health reasons and cannot access a clinic, please contact your usual home healthcare provider in the first instance. If they are offering the vaccine they may be able to offer you a home visit. If this is not possible, please complete this form or call 03 476 9977 to outline the support required and the programme will work through a solution for you.

Booking information

How can people book if they do not have access to the internet?
You can book now by visiting or by calling 0800 28 29 26 (8am to 8pm, 7 days a week).

How can I change my appointment?
If you booked your appointment through the online booking system, you can log back in to amend your booking. Alternatively, please call 0800 28 29 26 (8am to 8pm, 7 days a week). Please note if your change means there is less than 21 days between doses, you will be prompted to change the other appointment to maintain the gap between doses.

Vaccinations and employment

Can my employer insist I receive a vaccine?
The Government, via Employment New Zealand, has provided guidance around COVID-19 vaccination issues in the workplace

Are there consequences for health staff who refuse to be vaccinated?
While we encourage all staff to participate in the vaccination programme it is within your rights to decline to have the vaccine. Employee related advice has also been developed by 20 DHBs to provide clarity for front-line DHB managers on general employment-related questions that may arise in respect of COVID-19 vaccinations.

While the FAQ information is specific to DHBs, it will also be relevant to other health providers. We invite providers to utilise the resource as a guide to assist in your own organisational planning around the COVID-19 vaccination process. 

Please note that the advice may change rapidly given the nature of the Government and health system’s response to COVID-19.
Download a copy of the FAQs.
I want to be a vaccinator. How do I apply? 
Find out more about joining our vaccinator workforce.
I am an employer of client-facing healthcare workers, where can I find information about COVID-19 vaccinations?
Client-facing healthcare staff are eligible for their COVID-19 vaccination and can book an appointment online. 

Will we be able to link our vaccinations to our passport numbers for future travel?

These questions are being considered at a national level. All vaccines are recorded in the COVID-19 Immunisation Register with your NHI number so there is a way to match public records in the future.

See SDHB media releases regarding the COVID 19 vaccine and rollout

Apply for an early vaccine

Find out what to do if you need to travel overseas on compassionate grounds or for reasons of national significance on the Unite Against COVID-19 website.

Possible COVID-19 Scams

woman questioning

Be aware of scams

Scammers take every opportunity and unfortunately the COVID Vaccine roll-out isn't immune. Remember, the COVID-19 vaccine is FREE. At no point will you be asked to pay for the vaccine, or pay for your place in the queue. If you are, it's likely a scam. More information, including how to report a scam, can be found here






COVID-19 resources

man seeking information

Resources are available

For further information about New Zealand's COVID-19 vaccination programme please visit: 

Unite against COVID-19. Find out about the vaccine rollout programme here

Ministry of Health COVID-19. Find information about vaccines here