Will the vaccines be free and voluntary?
The COVID-19 vaccination will be free of charge.
It will not be mandatory. You can choose whether to get vaccinated.
Who can get the vaccines?
The government is expecting enough vaccines for every New Zealander – over 5 million people.
Vaccines have also been bought for those in the Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau, Sāmoa, Tonga and Tuvalu.
All New Zealanders will be able to choose whether to get vaccinated.
What type of vaccines will be available?
New Zealand has secured COVID-19 vaccines with four suppliers.
Different vaccines have been purchased to allow for the possibility of some being more suited to different population groups or areas.
The first agreement is for 1.5 million vaccines from Pfizer and BioNTech. This is enough for 750,000 people - each person will need two doses of this vaccination, about two weeks apart.
The government has also agreed to purchase 10.72 million doses of the Novavax vaccine. This vaccine needs two doses. Enough for 5.36 million people.
This vaccine is not expected to be available until later in 2021.
An agreement of 7.6 million doses has also been signed with AstraZeneca.
This vaccine needs two doses which is enough for 3.8 million people.
The AstraZeneca vaccine is ‘fridge-stable’, which may allow for a more efficient rollout. This means it’s compatible with existing storage and distribution channels.
When will vaccinations start?
The confirmed timing of the rollout depends on when suppliers can deliver it.
The amount of vaccine will be limited when it first arrives. It will first need to go to those who need it most.
Border and managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) workers are a priority group expected to be vaccinated first.
Vaccinations for the general public are expected to begin in the second half of 2021.
Are there priority groups that will get vaccinated first?
Yes. The best protection for New Zealand is to protect those most at risk of infection and their household contacts.
The priority is to vaccinate border workers, managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) and essential staff first.
Once the vaccine arrives in New Zealand, it’s expected vaccinating these priority groups will be completed in three to four weeks.
Ensuring equity of outcomes is a key measure of success. This includes protection for Māori, Pacific peoples and our most vulnerable population groups, such as:
- older people
- disabled people
- health workers
- essential workers
- border staff
How can I get a vaccine?
Vaccines will be rolled out through a COVID-19 Immunisation programme when they become available.
Further information will be on this site when it’s made available from the Ministry of Health.
Tell me about the rollout programme
Over $66 million has been allocated to support the roll out of the vaccine. Most of this money is to pay for enough supplies to vaccinate New Zealand’s entire population and support neighbouring Pacific countries.
Nine large -80°C freezers that can store more than 1.5 million doses of vaccine have been purchased. These will become part of a central storage facility for vaccines that requires ultra-low temperatures (the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine).
Vaccines will be distributed from the central storage facilities in a very controlled way through a nationwide ‘cold chain’ network.
Work is underway to see what expansion is needed to the cold chain network to make sure it’s ready to distribute vaccine across the country. Some vaccines can be stored for up to five days in normal cold chain fridges in temperatures from 2-8°C.
The National Immunisation Register (NIR) hold records for all immunisations given to children in New Zealand, as well as some adults. A replacement for the NIR system is being developed and will be called the National Immunisation Solution (NIS).
The NIS will allow health workers to record vaccinations anywhere, anytime. The public will be able to digitally access their own immunisation records.
The first version of the system will be available to fully support the roll-out and additional functionality will be added through further versions.
An inventory management system for vaccines is also being developed. This will hold information about where the vaccines are located, as well as volumes and temperature.
The system will help track and trace COVID-19 vaccines and consumables, including their expiry dates to minimise wastage.
Where can I get more information?
COVID-19: Vaccines | health.govt.nz