Vaccine update November 2021: booster shots and alternative jab available

Vaccine rates close in on 90%

At midnight on 17 November 2021, more than 7.2 million vaccine doses had been given – 3.8 million first doses and 3.4 million second doses. Therefore 82% of the eligible population are now fully vaccinated – which means the country is closing in on the magic ‘90%’ mark. View the full breakdown of vaccine data here.

Booster shots approved for people over 18

The Government has confirmed a third ‘booster’ shot will be available to anyone aged over the age of 18. You will be eligible once 6 months have passed since your primary course (which equates to two doses).

These will start being administered from 29 November. You can get your booster shot in the same way you received your first two doses – via your GP, a pharmacy or walk-in-clinic. You’ll be able to book a slot via Book My Vaccine from 26 November.

You do not need to have a booster dose to be ‘fully vaccinated’ for a vaccine pass or certificate. If you do get a booster dose, it will be added to My Covid Record and you can create another pass.

Booster shots are not mandatory

Currently, booster doses will not be mandatory for workers who are required to be vaccinated, or to get a vaccine status certificate used to access events, gyms, churches, hairdressers and other services and premises.

Severely immunocompromised people

The booster is different to the third primary dose recommended for severely immunocompromised people (this is an option only suitable for a very small group of people and those eligible will be contacted by their GP or Specialist and invited to make an appointment. People eligible for a third primary dose can access a booster fourth dose 6 months after receiving their third primary dose.

Overseas vaccinations

If you were vaccinated overseas, you can get a Pfizer booster 6 months after you received your most recent vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine is the recommended booster dose regardless of what vaccine was used for earlier doses.

Second vaccine option has arrived in New Zealand

New Zealand has received the first batch of AstraZeneca vaccines (100,000 doses), which will be available as an alternative vaccine option for people who are unable to receive the Pfizer jab (for medical reasons) or who would like an alternative vaccine option.

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

From 26 November, you will be able to 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

My Vaccine Pass

My Vaccine Pass is an official record of your COVID-19 vaccination status for use within Aotearoa New Zealand. It’s free and issued by the Ministry of Health

It provides proof you are fully vaccinated or have a medical exemption and will allow you to enter venues and events when New Zealand moves into the ‘traffic light system’ later in the year.

Currently you can only get a My Vaccine Pass if you have had 2 Pfizer doses in New Zealand. From 29 November, you can request a My Vaccine Pass if you have:

  • been vaccinated overseas with an approved vaccine
  • received 2 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in New Zealand
  • a medical exemption.

Once you are fully vaccinated, log on to My Covid Record to access a pass, which will be emailed to you. Your My Vaccine Pass will include your name, date of birth and a QR code. You can save the pass on a digital device or print a physical copy. If you aren’t able to access My Covid Record – for example, you don’t have internet access, an ID, or want to request a pass on behalf of someone else (with their permission) – you call 0800 222 478. Have your NHI number at hand if possible.

Your pass will have an expiry date 6 months after the date of issue. My Vaccine Pass cannot be used for overseas travel. If you are going to another country, you will need to request an International Travel Vaccination Certificate.

For more information about My Vaccine Pass, see the website.

About Mason Head

Content Creator and Publication Lead at Eldernet

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