Vaccine update December 2021: NZ hits 90% double-jabbed and vaccine for children provisionally approved

90% double-jab target met

As of midnight on 15 December 2021, 90% of the eligible population had been double vaccinated (almost 3.8 million). There are another 150,000 people who have had their first jab, while 180,000 people have received a booster shot. View the full breakdown of vaccine data here.

Vaccinations provisionally approved for children aged 5 – 11

Medsafe has granted provisional approval for the Pfizer vaccine for children aged between 5 and 11 years old.  

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for this age group is an adapted version of the vaccine used for people aged 12 and older. The provisional approval is for two doses of the paediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, given at least 21 days apart.

Medsafe approval is the first step in the process, and the COVID-19 Vaccine Technical Advisory Group is now providing advice to the Ministry of Health to inform Cabinet’s decision whether to use the vaccine in New Zealand.

If Cabinet agrees to use the vaccine in New Zealand, we want to have systems in place to roll out the vaccine safely and efficiently, at the earliest opportunity. This means completing the necessary training and working with the community to roll out the vaccine, including through whānau-based approaches.

If approved by Cabinet, the rollout of the paediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is expected to start in New Zealand no later than the end of January 2022.

Children aged over the age of 12 have been able to receive their vaccination since September.

There is currently no plan for a school-based COVID-19 vaccination programme.

AstraZeneca vaccine now available for a small number of kiwis

People who are unable to receive the Pfizer jab (for medical reasons) or who would like an alternative vaccine option can now receive the AstraZeneca jab.

As New Zealand has only ordered 100,000 doses of this alternative vaccine, supplies are scarce: as a result, you may find that you are asked by medical professionals as to the reason you have chosen to receive the AstraZeneca jab.

While Pfizer remains the preferred vaccine in New Zealand, AstraZeneca vaccines will protect you against the symptoms of COVID-19 and have been thoroughly assessed for safety by Medsafe. Everyone responds differently to medicines, however, which means no vaccine is ever 100 percent safe – visit the Ministry of Health website for potential side effects.  

Booking the AstraZeneca vaccine

You can now book your appointment to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine at If you select AstraZeneca, the site will show a list of vaccination centres where AstraZeneca can be given. Not all sites are equipped to deliver this vaccine.

If you’re unable to book online, you can call the COVID Vaccination Healthline on 0800 28 29 26 (8am to 8pm, 7 days a week). They’ll make the booking for you and answer any questions. Interpretation services are available if you need them.

If you have any underlying health issues or concerns, ensure you get advice from a medical professional before being vaccinated. For more information about vaccine safety, visit or

About Mason Head

Content Creator and Publication Lead at Eldernet

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