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Vaccine Guide: Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine


  • Choosing to get the vaccine
    • Getting the vaccine will help stop you from getting sick from COVID-19.
    • We encourage you to take this opportunity to get the vaccine.
    • It is not compulsory to have the COVID-19 vaccine; it is your choice if want to you get it.
    • If you don’t want the vaccine, you don’t have to get it.
    • If you’re worried or not sure about getting the vaccine, talk to your family doctor or vaccinator.
  • Two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine
    • You get the best protection against COVID-19 after two doses of the vaccine.
    • It is important you get your second injection, so the vaccine works well.
    • You will be asked to get your second dose of the vaccine at least three weeks after your first dose.
  • How will I get my vaccine?
    • Where you get your vaccine will depend on when you are due to get your vaccine.
    • There will be different options to make getting the vaccine as easy as possible, including through Māori and Pacific providers, doctors, pop-up centres, pharmacies, medical and hauora centres and community clinics.
  • Interpreters & support people
    • You can ask that an interpreter come with you to your appointment if you need one.
    • You can take a support person with you to your appointment.
  • Getting the vaccine
    • When you go to your vaccination, a healthcare worker will ask you about your health history, such as what medication you take or what conditions you have. They will also give you some information about the COVID-19 vaccine.
    • If you want the vaccine, you will need to agree to getting the vaccine. Your vaccinator can give you information to help you decide.
    • If you say yes, the vaccinator will give you the COVID-19 vaccine into your arm using a needle.
      • The vaccine will usually go into your upper arm.
      • You will need to relax and sit still.
      • You can look away from your arm and close your eyes if you are feeling nervous.
      • You can also listen to music or talk to someone who supports you.
      • The vaccinator will wipe your skin clean first.
      • You may feel a pinch when the needle goes in.
      • The vaccinator will cover the place where the needle went in with a band-aid, or tape and a cotton ball.
  • What happens after I get the vaccine?
    • You’ll need to stay for at least 20 minutes after your vaccine so the healthcare worker can check that you’re ok and not having an allergic reaction to the vaccine. Your support person can stay with you.
    • Once the healthcare worker says you’re fine, you can leave and carry on with your day.
  • How might I feel after I get the vaccine?
    • Some people might get side effects. This can happen with all medicines.
    • The most common side effects are:
      • a sore arm from your injection – you can put a cold cloth or ice pack on it to feel better
      • a headache
      • or feeling tired.
    • These side effects are usually mild and shouldn’t last long.
    • If you are worried about how you feel after your vaccine, speak with your doctor or call Healthline 0800 358 5453.
    • Call 111 if you’re really worried.
  • Allergic reactions
    • It’s very unlikely you will get a bad allergic reaction after your vaccine.
    • Staying for at least 20 minutes after your vaccine means the healthcare workers can make sure you are ok and don’t have any reactions.
    • If you do have a reaction, the healthcare workers are trained to help you.
  • Can I get my flu or MMR vaccine at the same time as my COVID-19 vaccine?
    • You cannot get your flu or MMR vaccine at the same time as your COVID-19 vaccine.
    • You need to get your flu or Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine at a different time to your COVID-19 vaccine. This is in case you get any side effects, so your doctor knows what made you unwell.
    • You can get your flu vaccine two weeks before your first COVID-19 dose or two weeks after your second COVID-19 dose.
    • You can get your MMR vaccine four weeks before your first COVID-19 dose or four weeks after your second COVID-19 dose.
    • If your vaccine appointments are close together, you should get your COVID-19 vaccine first and talk to your doctor about moving your other appointment.

Find out more

  • Be aware of untrue information on social media and other places.
  • Getting the right information matters. Always go to trusted sources of information.
  • You can get accurate and trusted information at and, including alternative formats, NZSL and translations.

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