Why you need an additional dose

We know that your protection from the vaccine decreases over time.

To keep your immunity levels high, stay up to date with your immunisations — including additional doses. This will lower your chances of getting very sick from COVID-19 and ending up in hospital.

From 7 March 2024, we use the Pfizer XBB1.5 monovalent vaccine. This is an updated vaccine targeting recent Omicron strains. COVID-19 vaccines are free.

The vaccine produces an immune response against the Omicron subvariant, XBB.1.5.

Current evidence indicates the vaccine is more effective against Omicron subvariants than earlier vaccines. 

If you are 30 years of age and over

If you are 30 years of age and over, you can have an additional dose regardless of the number of vaccines you have already had. It is recommended:

  • you wait at least 6 months since you had COVID-19
  • at least 6 months since you had a COVID-19 vaccine.

Additional doses are especially recommended for:

  • people aged 65 and older
  • Māori and Pacific people aged 50 and older
  • residents of aged care facilities
  • severely immunocompromised people 
  • people aged 12 years and over who have a medical condition that increases the risk of severe illness from COVID-19. 

If you are 16 to 29 years of age

Healthy people aged 16 to 29 can have 1 additional dose.

To get an additional dose: 

  • you must have had at least your initial COVID-19 immunisations
  • it is recommended you wait at least 6 months since your last COVID-19 vaccine or infection.

Additional doses for 16 to 29 year olds at high risk

Some people aged 16 to 29 can have additional doses.

This includes: 

  • severely immunocompromised people 
  • pregnant people
  • those who have a medical condition that increases the risk of severe illness from COVID-19
  • those who live with disability with significant or complex health needs or multiple comorbidities. 

If you are 12 to 15 years old

Healthy tamariki (children) under 16 years old are not eligible for additional doses. 

Rangatahi (young people) aged 12 to 15 who have a medical condition that increases the risk of severe illness from COVID-19 can get additional doses, including pregnant people.

Talk to your doctor, nurse, or healthcare provider about whether this is recommended.  

Children under 12 years old

Tamariki (children) under the age of 12 can get vaccinated.

Healthy tamariki aged 5 to 11 years old can be protected against COVID-19 with 1 dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 XBB vaccine. This gives tamariki good protection against severe illness from COVID-19 and this means that tamariki are not eligible for any further doses. Tamariki who have been immunised are less likely to have a severe illness and need to go to hospital if they get COVID-19.

At risk and immunocompromised tamariki are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine and may need more than 1 dose of the vaccine to be protected from serious illness.

Talk to your healthcare provider about your child's specific circumstances.

Find out when your last vaccination was

You can check the date of your last vaccination in My Health Record.

Visit My Health Record (external link)

To find out over the phone, call the Vaccination Healthline. You can call between 8:30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (except public holidays).

Call: 0800 28 29 26

If you have had COVID-19

Having COVID-19 does not provide the same level of immunity as getting immunised.

If you have had COVID-19 and are eligible for an additional dose, it is recommended you wait 6 months after you tested positive.

Why you need to wait between infection and immunisation

After you have had COVID-19 your antibody levels will be high from your immune system’s response to the infection. This will give you some protection against COVID-19.

After 6 months, your antibody levels have likely dropped and, if you are due to have a vaccine, it is a good time to boost your immunity.

If you get a vaccine soon after you have had COVID-19, you may not get all the benefits from it because your antibody levels are already high.

If you are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, we recommend you talk to your doctor or specialist for advice on the timing of your next dose. It may be appropriate for you to get your COVID-19 vaccine sooner than 6 months.