COVID-19 vaccine updates for tāngata whaikaha and whānau

Making a decision about having the COVID-19 vaccine

Last updated 16 September 2021

Here is a simplified easy read information and pictures on making a decision about having the COVID-19 vaccine. It also includes a decision-making tool that you can fill in yourself.  

For more easy read information about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit the Ministry of Health website





Making a decision about having the COVID-19 vaccine

Need more support to make a decision about receiving the COVID-19 Vaccination?

Last updated 19 October 2021

Some people may require support to make a decision about receiving the Covid-19 Vaccination.

The Personal Advocacy and Safeguarding Adults Trust can work with disabled people nationwide who may require help with their decision about the Covid-19 vaccination. This includes people with a learning disability, neurodiversity or cognitive impairment.

  • If you already have trusted whānau and supporters to help you make this decision, they can coach you on how to use a Supported Decision Making approach.
  • If you do not have any other trusted whānau or supporters, they can help you to understand, make and record this important decision.

Contact them on 0800 728 7878 or email




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Can I get the vaccine if I have underlying health conditions? 

Last updated 29 November 2021

People with some underlying health conditions are more at risk if they get COVID-19. We recommend that you talk to your doctor or specialist to find out more about the two vaccines currently being offered in New Zealand- Pfizer and AstraZeneca. 

For more information, visit the Ministry of Health website or visit 



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Preparing your loved one for vaccination and consent form

Parents and carers, here's how you can prepare a loved one who might need extra support and strategies to have a successful vaccination experience.

Explore Behavioural Service created some really helpful resources, like using the "First-Then" approach (eg "First we will go to Granny's, then we'll go to the vaccine centre"), social script and breathing exercises.

FYI, here's what the vaccine COVID-19 consent form looks like, which needs to be completed on the day the vaccine is received. 


Published 16 July 2021   




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12–15 year-olds can now be vaccinated with their whānau  

  • Young people aged 12–15 will be able to join parents or caregivers getting their vaccination, making it easier for whānau to get vaccinated together.
  • Medsafe gave provisional approval for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for 12–15-year-olds in Aotearoa in June. The government has now approved the vaccine for use for 12–15-year-olds.
  • From Friday 20 August, as parents or guardians become eligible to book their vaccine, they can also book any 12–15-year-olds in their whānau.
  • People who already have a booking may be able to add to an existing booking or make an additional booking for their 12-15-year-old.
  • At this stage, the COVID-19 vaccine will not be available to children through their school-based vaccination programme. We will keep you updated on any changes in that area.
  • To make or change a booking:
    • go to  
    • phone the COVID Vaccination Healthline 0800 28 29 26, (8am-8pm, 7 days a week)
  • If you’ve already booked directly with your GP or pharmacy, talk to them about adding whānau members.


Published 20 August 2021

Teenager getting vaccinated

Why larger arms need a larger needle

If you’re a larger person with larger arms, you may have been given vaccines with a longer needle than someone smaller than you.

That’s because a longer needle gives vaccinators a better chance of getting the vaccine where it needs to go. The Pfizer vaccine is an intramuscular injection, meaning the needle needs to be able to get deep into the muscle in your upper arm. 

Most, but not all, vaccines are injected into muscle, as muscle tissue contains important immune cells. Injecting the vaccine into muscle tissue allows those immune cells to sound the alarm to other immune cells to get to work.

Some people are larger because they have a lot of muscle, while others have a lot of fat, but vaccinators will make a call on what size needle to use depending on the arm in front of them. 

This is an edited version of an article, Why larger arms need a larger needle for the Covid-19 vaccine. It’s part of The Whole Truth a COVID-19 fact checking series on the Stuff website written with the support of an expert advisory panel.

It is common for people to display some angst towards needles. But most people appreciate the benefits of vaccination. Having a conversation with the person and encouraging them to say why they are having the vaccination helps strengthen their commitment. IMAC has a useful factsheet that provides recommendations around managing vaccinations of people who are fearful of needles.


Published 20 August 2021


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Social story for people on the spectrum: receiving the COVID-19 vaccine

Last updated 18 October 2021

Social stories provide a visual explanation of what to expect when getting the vaccine for COVID-19 and what you may experience after getting the vaccine. Check out this social story from Autism NZ that can help people prepare before getting the vaccine



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Animation: Need info about getting the vaccine

Last updated 2 November 2021

Here's a short animation of people's pathway to get the vaccine, from supported decision making and getting supported options to access the vaccine. 

Animation transcript:

Need info about getting the vaccine? Tiaki supports Auckland disabled people. 

Vaccination options

  • Walk-in or drive-through. Visit for your nearest vaccination centre. 
  • Your Doctor. Speak with your doctor, many are able to vaccinate. 
  • Home vaccination. Call us 0800 824 5874 or email if all other options are not feasible.

Need support to make a decision?

The Personal Advocacy and Safeguarding Adults Trust can work with disabled people nationwide who may require help with their decision about the COVID-19 vaccination. This includes people with:

  • a learning disability
  • neurodiversity
  • cognitive impairment

Contact them on 0800 728 7878 or email

Need more information? 

Call the nationwide vaccination hotline dedicated for disabled people on 0800 11 12 13. 

Let us play our part and get vaccinated.



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Guidance for talking with people affected by misinformation

Last updated 29 November 2021

New animated resource A Brief History of Misinformation offers advice and guidance for talking with those close to you being affected by misinformation, and what to do if you come across misinformation in social media.

Misinformation is a growing and complex issue. A Brief History of Misinformation offers a calm and practical approach to reduce the tension in discussions with whanau and family, friends, communities and workplaces.




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Free COVID-19 booster shots for the public

Last updated 19 November 2021


Free Pfizer booster shots will be available from Monday 29 November 2021 for those who had their second dose six months ago.

From 26 November you can make a booking using Book My Vaccine.

You can also get booster doses at a walk-in clinic, pharmacy or your GP.

Note that the third primary dose is different from a booster shot. The third primary dose is for people who are severely immunocompromised or people who have reduced abilities to fight off illnesses and infections.  

The Pfizer vaccine is the primary vaccine being used in New Zealand for booster doses, regardless of what vaccine was used for earlier doses. 



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Five ways to get the COVID-19 vaccine for you and your whānau 

Last updated 30 November 2021

There are five ways to go about it: 

1. Walk-in 

People with disabilities and their family can turn up at walk-in or drive-through vaccination sites without a booking. Please tell the people at the vaccination centre of any special needs so they can support you the best way possible. 

If you need transport support or have any questions, please call our Tiaki service on 0800 824 58 72 and we'll get it sorted. 

2. Home vaccination

We can book your home vaccinations. Please give us a call on 0800 824 58 72. Home visits are Monday to Friday 9am to 3.30pm. 

3.  Call 0800 11 12 13

This vaccination hotline is especially for disabled people and their carers. You will receive tailored advice and support for booking your vaccination appointments, including assistance with coordinating transport to and from the vaccination site and arranging the necessary support/accommodations during the appointment.

Whakarongorau Aotearoa who run the COVID Vaccination Healthline has employed team members who are either disabled people themselves or who are allies to the disability community across Aotearoa.

It is available from 8am – 8pm, 7 days a week, and they can make the booking for you and answer any questions.

Translation services are available if you need them.

Be ready, and have your NHI on hand if you can. 
When you call, it’s a good idea to have your NHI number handy.
You don’t need it to book but it will make the process quicker for
you. You’ll find your NHI number on a prescription, x-ray or test
result, or a letter from the hospital.

4. Go to 

You can use this link to book your free vaccination.

If you need help with your booking please phone the vaccination helpline on 0800 11 12 13 or you can email

5. Text 8988 for free

You can text 8988 to get more vaccine information, book a vaccination appointment or support with transport. This is the SMS number for the disability COVID Vaccination Healthline team and they are available between 8am and 8pm from Monday to Friday.  


FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

I need a sign language interpreter.

If you need a sign language interpreter please email or let us know--we can book your vaccination appointment and sign language interpreter for you at the same time.

Where are the vaccination centres in Auckland? Are they accessible? 

If you don’t know where to get your vaccine please have a look at this immunisation website or Karawhiua. You can see the accessibility and transport options for each Vaccination Centre.

I can't leave my home to have my vaccination. 

We can organise home vaccination for you. Call us on 0800 824 5872.  Alternatively, you can use 0800 11 12 13. 

Can I get my COVID-19 vaccine at a GP or pharmacy?

Some GPs and pharmacies are offering COVID-19 vaccinations, which may be an option for people with underlying medical conditions. You can check if your GP or local pharmacy is offering the COVID-19 vaccination by visiting

I need more information before I decide to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Here is an easy read version with pictures on making a decision about getting the COVID-19 vaccine. It also includes a decision-making tool that you can fill in yourself. For more easy read information about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit the Ministry of Health website.

How can I prepare a loved one from receiving the vaccine?

Explore Behavioural Service created some helpful resources for people who need extra support and strategies to have a successful vaccination experience.

Where can I find more information created for people with disabilities about the COVID-19 vaccine?

Our website has a collection of resources from the Ministry of Health and especially designed for people with disabilities. Just keep scrolling down. 


Thank you for helping to protect your whānau, aiga, community and the country from COVID-19. The more people who are vaccinated, the greater our protection as a community.

Remember – there’s enough of the vaccine for everyone. 




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Free trips to vaccination sites 

Last updated 8 October 2021

Co-op taxis offer free trips to vaccination sites for anyone requiring their 1st Pfizer dose. 

Call 0800 11 12 13 to confirm your eligibility and vaccination status. If you're eligible, the operator will book you directly into the taxi's system and go from there. Make sure you let them know of any special mobility requirements, like if you're a wheelchair user, so they can look into booking a larger vehicle for you. 





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Drive through vaccination at Papakura Marae

Published 8 September 2021

Papakura Marae has set up a drive through clinic for disabled whanau and those with mental health concerns.

The clinic is open from 9.00 am to 3.00 pm Monday to Friday at 29 Hunua Rd Papakura.

Fill up your car with whanau including your disabled whanau and you will all get vaccinated.

You don’t have to book. Try to be there by 2 pm latest so you can be processed. Just turn up. Bring the whanau.

Tell the security guard that you have disabled whanau in the car and they will direct you where to go.



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Applying for an early vaccine

People travelling overseas for specific reasons, to countries that are not designated quarantine-free travel zones, can apply for early access to the COVID-19 vaccine. Applicants may need to provide their reason for travelling, to ensure it meets the criteria.

You’ll find more information on the Ministry of Health website.


Published 20 August 2021


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Getting your second dose increases your protection 

Last updated 6 October 2021

Both doses of the Pfizer vaccine (Comirnaty) are the same. The second dose increases your protection – giving you better and likely longer-lasting immunity than the first dose alone.

You’ll need two doses, at least 3 weeks apart. For more information, go to the Ministry of Health website.



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Exemptions and exceptions from mandatory vaccination

Last updated 18 November 2021

Health and disability workers and education workers are required to have their first doses by 15 November.

In some situations, health and disability workers may be able to get an exemption from being vaccinated against COVID-19.

View the map of the exemption process and find out more about the eligibility criteria for vaccine exemption and exceptions or visit the Ministry of Health page for more detailed information. 

Keep checking this post for more information on how you can have a conversation with your support worker about this requirements. 



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Questions and Answers about support workers and vaccination requirements

Last updated 9 November 2021


I purchase my own support through individualised funding. Must my support workers be vaccinated?

All people who are employed or engaged as care and support workers are required to have had their first vaccination by 15 November 2021, and their second vaccination by 1 January 2022. This applies whether the care and support workers are employed or engaged by a provider, or by a disabled person through individualised funding arrangements.

I use my Carer Support funding to pay for a relief carer. Must the relief carer be vaccinated?

A relief carer who is paid through Carer Support funding is required to be vaccinated if they are employed or engaged as a care and support worker. 

Must people who are paid as family carers be vaccinated?

People who are employed or engaged to provide care and support to a family member will need to be vaccinated.

Where do I send questions to?

If you have any questions related to the order, you can send these to

For more information visit the Ministry of Health website




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Mandatory vaccinations for other sectors

Last updated 19 November 2021


For Early Childhood Education (ECE), please view this map from the Ministry of Education. We understand that the map might not be accessible to all, and suggest that you talk to your ECE provider if you have any questions. 

Schools and Kura, please view this map from the Ministry of Education. We understand that the map might not be accessible to all, and suggest that you talk to your school or kura if you have any questions. 

For employment and business advise, please visit the following:



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Get a hardcopy of your vaccine pass

Last updated 29 November 2021

Here's what you can do to get a hardcopy or printed out version of your vaccine pass:

  • You can phone 0800 222 478 or email to request a pass, which will then be posted to you directly.
  • Pharmacies that are providing COVID-19 vaccinations can also help you request and print a pass or certificate. Confirm in advance that they can help and bring your NHI number along when you pop in. Look for a pharmacy that can help you print out your pass. 
  • Remember, if don’t have a NZ Visa or a NZ Driver’s license, you can still get your vaccine pass. Your NHI number or vaccination dates will work too. Call your doctor to find out your NHI number. 
  • If you need support, phone 0800 222 478 or email For more information, visit the



My vaccine pass printout

Proof of vaccination 

Last updated 19 November 2021

Everyone in New Zealand will be able to access a scannable QR code as proof of vaccination and COVID-19 test results.

This will help ensure we are reducing the risk of the virus spreading at large gatherings and events.

You'll be able to either print or save the QR codes on your smartphone in your Apple or Google Wallet.

There will be separate codes for domestic and international verification of vaccination records and COVID-19 test results.

The vaccination pass will give people access to businesses that choose to provide access only to vaccinated people, such as bars, restaurants, gyms, big events or domestic airlines, when the Protection Framework comes in to effect.

Visit My COVID-19 record to create your health account or go to the Ministry of Health website for more information about COVID-19 vaccine certificates. 



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Third COVID-19 primary dose for people who have reduced abilities to fight illnesses and diseases

Last updated 2 November 2021

People with weak immune systems have a higher risk of getting serious infection if they're exposed to COVID-19. That's why people who have reduced abilities to fight illnesses and diseases can now get a third COVID-19 vaccine dose. 

What's the difference between a third primary dose and booster? We use the word ‘booster’ when referring to general population. ‘Third primary dose’ is currently used when referencing the dose for people who are severely immunocompromised. 

Under the current programme, the general population cannot receive a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine in New Zealand. The Ministry is reviewing the research as it becomes available and they will make a decision about booster doses in the coming months. 

  • A third primary dose vaccine cannot be prescribed or administered to anyone who does not meet the criteria set out in the Policy Statement.
  • The third primary dose must be administered at least 8 weeks following the second dose. 
  • Patients must show a script from a medical practitioner and a written consent form (co-signed by the medical practitioner) to receive a third primary dose.
  • The third primary dose can be administered at all vaccination clinics. 
  • The standard two-dose course of vaccine should be offered to any eligible unvaccinated household contacts aged 12 and over, of severely immunocompromised individuals.
  • The Ministry of Health has published the requirements to be eligible for a third dose. For more information go to their website. 



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Vaccination sites offering AstraZeneca vaccine

29 November 2021

Currently, here are the vaccination sites offering AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. To learn more about AstraZeneca, visit the Ministry of Health website. As always, please talk to your doctor if this vaccine is an option for you. 

Ōtara Vaccination Centre
5 Otara Rd, Otara

Airport Park and Ride Drive Through Vaccination Centre
42 Verissimo Drive, Māngere

Mt Wellington Vaccination Centre
95 -105 Leonard Road, Mount Wellington

Tāmaki Vaccination Centre
261 Morrin Road, St Johns

Westgate Vaccination Centre
7-11 Westgate Drive

Orewa Vaccination Centre
Orewa Service Centre, 50 Centreway Road, Orewa

Click here to locate the vaccination centres and plan your trip.



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All you need to know about COVID-19 vaccination for disabled people

Last updated 8 October 2021

Check out this video of Disability Connect’s Support Group meeting with Dr Rosie Marks and Dr Marguerite Dalton. Both Drs Rosie and Marguerite are medical specialists with many years of service to disabled people and their families.

In this presentation they explain the science behind the changing nature of the COVID-19 virus, different vaccines available and the make-up of these vaccines including the one that is being offered to us in New Zealand.

All aspects of vaccination are explored, including safety, with key considerations for disabled people and their families.

The video is 75 minutes long. The link to the video is here: All you need to know about COVID-19 vaccination for disabled people

The slides from the presentation are available: here



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How does the vaccine work - in te reo

Last updated 15 September 2021

IMAC have shared a short video in te reo Māori answering the most common pātai we hear about the COVID-19 vaccine: How does it work?

This information can help inform whānau and alleviate them of any anxieties they have towards the vaccine. What’s even better is that this entire video is in te reo Māori.



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What’s in the COVID-19 vaccine?

Last updated 17 September 2021

If you want to know what’s in the Pfizer vaccine and what’s not, there’s useful information on the Ministry of Health website. This includes a full list of vaccine ingredients and a video about how the vaccine works. Quick fact check: did you know that the Pfizer vaccine doesn’t contain any live, dead or deactivated viruses. There are no animal products in it either.

Have a look at our COVID-19: How the vaccine works web page.

A recently released video NZ Vaccine facts: what is an mRNA vaccine? also looks at the vaccine. It’s the third in a series of eight videos being released over the next few weeks.

You’ll find the NZ Vaccine Facts series on YouTube.



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Simple overview of COVID-19 vaccines and their safety, despite being developed so fast

“Why did it take so fast to create the vaccine?” is one of the most frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. Here’s a video of Dr Ashley Bloomfield explaining clearly how we got there so fast.

Take time to watch Dr Rawiri provide advice on trusted information sources and recognising and avoiding misinformation.


Published 9 April 2021


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Read up on COVID-19 vaccine info to help you plan and prepare

Last updated 16 September 2021

What to expect, what you need to know, and what happens after your vaccination--read up on the resources available on

Easy read, sign language, large print and audio

Alternate formats regarding COVID-19 vaccine




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What brand of vaccine are we getting in New Zealand?

At this stage, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is the only
vaccine that has been approved by Medsafe as being safe and effective for use in New Zealand. 

The decision to make Pfizer New Zealand’s primary vaccine provider, was based on the fact the Pfizer vaccine has been shown to be about 95 percent effective at preventing symptomatic infection.

It also means all New Zealanders will have the chance to access the same vaccine.

The Government has guaranteed that every New Zealander will have access to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, after securing an additional 8.5 million doses. 

If you're curious about how COVID-19 vaccines work, visit for general information on COVID-19 vaccines. The resource is translated in several languages. 

Published 16 March 2021


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Vaccines: how safe and effective are they?

Last updated 16 September 2021

Many experts can provide evidence that the vaccines provide a significant layer is protecting people from COVID-19. But some members of our community may still feel anxious about vaccinations, especially when they don't have the right information about it. 

There are some very relevant kōrero on Te Ao with Moana (Māori TV) on vaccines. In this story, clinical immunologists Dr Anthony Jordan and Dr Maia Brewerton join Dr Rawiri Jansen and Moana to explore why some whânau are nervous about COVID-19 and the vaccination.

There are lots of information out there about vaccines. Remember: vaccines are medicines. If you have any questions about them, talk to your GP or specialist. It's also important to look for information from credible online sources like the NZ Ministry of Health website, Immunisation Advisory Centre and the World Health Organisation




COVID-19 vaccine FAQs in nine Pacific languages 

Last updated 16 September 2021

The Ministry for Pacific Peoples and Ministry of Health ran a nationwide fono with the Pacific church and community leaders in early March.

At the fono, the Pacific community raised some of the most important COVID-19 vaccine questions they have. In response, a team of experts, including clinical teams from the Ministry of Health, have provided credible and easy to understand information to help people learn know more about the vaccine. 

The FAQ is available in English, Te Reo Māori, Cook Islands Māori, Vosa Vakaviti, Kiribati, Vagahau Niue, Fäeag Rotųam, Gagana Samoa, Te Gagana Tokelau, Lea Faka Tonga, Te Gana Tuvalu.




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Vaccination helpline for people with disabilities 

Last updated 7 October 2021

If you or your loved one is needing information or transport to access the vaccine there is now a designated helpline for people with impairments operating Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm. Please call 0800 28 29 26 and press 2.



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FAQs for Pacific communities: COVID-19 and MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) immunisation and vaccination

Many people in our communities are looking forward to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine to protect them from getting and spreading COVID. If you still need more information before making a decision, please make sure to get them from a credible source. 

Here's a COVID and MMR FAQs (frequently asked questions) from the Ministry of Health especially created for our Pacific communities. 

The FAQs answers:

  • How can the COVID-19 vaccine be safe? It’s all happening so quickly.
  • If the COVID-19 vaccines work and be safe for Pacific people?
  • If it is safe to have the MMR vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine at the same time?

The Ministry of Health is also encouraging Pacific communities not to forget about the MMR vaccine. Numbers show Pasifika in New Zealand are about seven times more likely to catch measles. 

The Ministry of Health will publish the FAQ in other Pacific languages, and we'll make sure to share it here once it is available. 


Published 8 March 2021

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COVID-19 audio resources for Pacific people with vision impairments

Last updated 8 October 2021

Here are audio resources about COVID-19 in English and eight Pacific languages.

It talks about:

  • What is COVID-19?
  • What happens when the vaccine is injected into my body?
  • Is the vaccine safe?



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A new graphic online tool to help disabled people get vaccinated against COVID-19

Last updated 28 October 2021

Download the PDF copy (528 KB)



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