Surviving COVID-19

Jason Collier shares his experience of catching COVID-19. His nephew, who is on the fence about getting vaccinated, makes his choice.

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Te rongoā āraimate KOWHEORI-19 The COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccines are an important tool to keep our whānau and communities safe. They give us the protection we need so we can keep doing the things we love.

Te whawhai i te huaketo Fighting the virus

The vaccine teaches our immune system to recognise and fight the virus. It can’t give you the COVID-19 because it doesn’t contain the virus. It doesn’t affect your DNA. The vaccine leaves your body within a few days, leaving your immune system ready to respond if you get COVID-19.

If you want to, you can get both the COVID-19 and flu vaccinations at the same time. The regular flu vaccination does not provide immunity to or protection from COVID-19.

You can use our online map tool to find a vax from a kaupapa Māori clinic near you.

Find a clinic

You can also book a vax by calling the Healthline on 0800 358 5453.

Te tūkanga o te whiwhi rongoā āraimate The vaccination process

Pfizer is the preferred COVID-19 vaccine for use in Aotearoa. You will need two doses.

Some immunocompromised whānau need three doses because their bodies don’t produce a strong enough response after two doses.

For information about the eligibility criteria for severely immunocompromised, visit the Ministry of Health website.

View the eligibility criteria

When you go to get vaccinated:

  • you will be asked to provide your details and give consent
  • a fully trained vaccinator will give you the vaccine in your upper arm
  • you will need to stay for at least 15 minutes after being vaccinated
  • some mild side effects are common and are a sign your body is learning to fight the virus.

For more information about side effects, visit the Side effects and reactions page on the Unite against COVID-19 website.

COVID-19: Pfizer vaccine side effects and reactions

Most people need to wait three weeks between doses.

Tamariki aged 6 months to 4 years who are at higher risk of severe disease if they were to get COVID-19, are eligible to a three dose course of the vaccine. The second dose can be taken three weeks after their first and third dose eight weeks after their second.

For tamariki aged 5 to 11, the recommended gap between doses is eight weeks.

Rongoā āraimate mō ngā tamariki Vaccinations for tamariki

Only tamariki aged 6 months to 4 years who are severely immunocompromised, or who have complex and/or multiple health conditions which increase their risk of severe COVID-19 are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Visit the Starship website for qualifying health conditions which put your infant at risk.

Qualifying health conditions for tamariki 6 months to 4 years

You can make a vaccination booking  by calling Healthline on 0800 28 29 26 or visiting


Tamariki aged 6 months to 4 years who are not in the risk categories have a very low likelihood of severe illness from COVID-19 and so do not need and are not eligible for the vaccine.

Tamariki aged 5 – 11 are eligible. They need two doses of the vaccine given at least eight weeks apart.

Tamariki get the same vaccine as adults, but a lower dose with smaller volume. Some tamariki aged 5 to 11 years and who are at higher risk of getting seriously māuiui from COVID-19 may be able to get their doses closer together if their doctor recommends it.

For more information about vaccinations for tamariki, visit our Parents and tamariki page.

Parents and tamariki

Te okanga taunaki Boosters for more protection

COVID-19 is a highly infectious disease. If you’re fit and healthy, you can still get COVID-19 and pass it on to someone else who may become seriously ill. 

A booster provides more protection against COVID-19. Māori 40+ and immunocompromised whānau can get two boosters. You can find more information on the Get boosted page.

Get boosted

He pātai? Got a question?

You can find more information about vaccinations on our Questions and answers page. 

Questions and answers

For more information and advice about getting vaccinated, call Healthline on 0800 358 5453.