Kia Ora!

Haere mai and welcome to the home for the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out in Canterbury/Waitaha and West Coast/Te Tai Poutini.

Here’s where you’ll find information on when and how to get your free COVID-19 vaccine in Waitaha and Te Tai Poutini. The first group of people to be vaccinated in Waitaha are our border and MIQ workers and their households. They are our first line of defence against Covid-19 and protect us every day – so it is important we protect them and the people they live with first.

We’ve also started vaccinating our frontline health and disability workers who protect the most vulnerable in our communities.

Vaccinations for the general population are expected to start in the second half of 2021 – check back regularly for the latest updates.

Getting your vaccination

An overview of the Pfizer vaccination, things to consider before getting your vaccination, and what will happen after your vaccination.

About the COVID-19 vaccine

Download this summary document for information about our vaccine plan, vaccine safety, access to vaccines, equity, and vaccine supply.

Getting your vaccination - Easy to read version

Easy to read information on getting a vaccination and what to expect after your vaccination.

Te Rongoā Ārai Mate Korona - The COVID-19 vaccine

Information about COVID-19 vaccinations for people living in Waitaha, Te Tai Poutini and Rēkohu.

When will I be vaccinated? (Canterbury)

A quick guide about when people in group 2 in the Canterbury DHB region can expect to get their COVID-19 vaccination.

When will I be vaccinated? (West Coast)

A quick guide about when people in group 2 in the West Coast DHB region can expect to get their COVID-19 vaccination.

Frequently Asked Questions

The vaccination is for everyone aged 16 and over, regardless of visa or citizenship status. The vaccination is free and voluntary.

New Zealand has secured enough doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (Comirnaty) to vaccinate everyone in the country.

The Pfizer vaccine will not give you COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccine works by triggering your immune system to produce antibodies and blood cells that work against the COVID-19 virus.

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is an important step you can take to protect yourself from the effects of the virus.

You’ll need two doses, at least three weeks apart. To ensure you have the best protection, make sure you get both doses of the vaccine.

The most vulnerable people in our community are being given the opportunity to be vaccinated against COVID-19 first.

The roll-out plan includes vaccinating four main groups, in order of vulnerability. Find out which group you are in by using the Find out when you can get a vaccine tool available on the COVID-19 website.

Here is the vaccination roll-out plan, including indicative dates.

If you need to travel outside of New Zealand, you can apply for an early COVID-19 vaccine on compassionate grounds or for reasons of national significance.

Learn more about applying for an early vaccine

Depending on which group you belong to, you may be offered a vaccine at or near your place of work, from your General Practice team or other health provider, or at a community clinic or pop-up centre.

General information about where vaccinations for each group will occur is available on the Unite Against COVID-19 website.

COVID-19 vaccination is free and voluntary. However, we strongly encourage everyone who is eligible for a vaccination to get one – getting vaccinated is the best way to protect you, your kaumātua and whanau, and your community. The more people who are vaccinated, the safer our community will be.

The Pfizer vaccine is not a ‘live’ vaccine. This means it cannot cause COVID-19 infection in you or your pēpi. Non-live vaccines are generally considered safe in pregnancy, for example, flu and whooping cough – unless you have an underlying health condition.

There is, however, limited data on the safety of the Pfizer vaccine in pregnancy, and so for that reason, it is recommended you seek advice from your GP or other suitably qualified health practitioner.

If you are pregnant, discuss your individual situation (particularly if you have other medical conditions or have a significant risk of acquiring an infection) and the benefits and risks of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant with your midwife or doctor.

If you are pregnant and choose to have the vaccine, you can get early access. This is because people who are pregnant can become very sick if they get COVID-19. Learn more about applying for an early vaccine.

If you're breastfeeding – as with all vaccines on the New Zealand Immunisation Schedule, there are no safety concerns about giving the Pfizer vaccine to women who are breastfeeding. When you're vaccinated, this can also provide some protection against COVID-19 for your baby through your breastmilk.

People under the age of 16 are not included for now. There’s limited data available for this age group as they weren’t part of the clinical trials. This situation will no doubt change as more data becomes available. This age group are much less likely to experience serious illness and so the risk to them of being unimmunised is far less.

Pfizer is given as an injection into the muscle of your upper arm.

You’ll need two doses. The second dose is given at least three weeks later. It’s very important you get your second dose, you have your best protection once you have both doses.

Staff will observe you for at least 20 minutes after your injection.

Like all medicines, COVID-19 vaccines may cause side effects in some people. This is the body’s normal response and shows the vaccine is working.

Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (Comirnaty) 

The most common reported reactions are:

  • pain at the injection site
  • a headache
  • feeling tired or fatigued
  • muscle aches
  • feeling generally unwell
  • chills
  • fever
  • joint pain
  • nausea.

These are usually mild and won't stop you from having the second dose or going about your daily life.

Learn more about who can have the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and what it contains

No. The Pfizer vaccine is the only one currently approved by Medsafe for use in Aotearoa/New Zealand and enough of this vaccine is on order to provide two doses for everyone.

COVID-19 vaccines used in New Zealand must comply with international and local standards for quality, safety and effectiveness.

Like all medicines, COVID-19 vaccines may cause side effects in some people. This is the body’s normal response and shows the vaccine is working.

If you feel uncomfortable, you can:

  • place a cold, wet cloth or ice pack on the injection site for a short time
  • rest and drink plenty of fluids
  • take paracetamol or ibuprofen.

If you have side effects or feel unwell after your vaccination, speak with your family doctor or call Healthline on 0800 358 5453.

We also encourage you to report any side effects. If you experience a side effect (also known as an adverse event) after receiving a COVID-19 vaccination, you can report it to the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM).

If you’re concerned about your safety, call 111. Tell them you’ve had a COVID-19 vaccination so they can assess you properly.

Yes. The data is clear that the vaccines protect individuals from the effects of the virus. However, it is still possible for some people who have been vaccinated (approximately 1 in 10) to transmit the virus to someone else.

Once you’ve been vaccinated, continue to take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Thoroughly wash and dry your hands. Cough or sneeze into your elbow and stay home if you feel unwell. This will help you protect yourself, your whānau and others.

Continue using the COVID tracer app, turn on your phone’s Bluetooth function, and you may wish to wear a face covering or mask.

The vaccine appears to provide substantial protection against virus transmission, however, it is possible for some people who have been vaccinated (approximately 1 in 10) to transmit the virus to someone else. Maintaining good hygiene practices, staying at home if you are sick and getting tested if required are as important as ever.

Cumulative vaccinations by DHB of residence

Tuesday 11 May 2021 at 23:59


Vaccine 28,782

First dose

Vaccine 8,136

Second dose

West Coast

Vaccine 1,363

First dose

Vaccine 212

Second dose

* Vaccination information is updated weekly based on the MoH vaccine data published on

COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics in Canterbury

COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics on the West Coast

Latest Updates

7 May 2021

Canterbury COVID-19 vaccination rollout makes its way to Aged Residential Care facilities

Canterbury’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout is progressing, with residents in community-based care, including Aged... more


5 May 2021

COVID-19 vaccination programme roll-out expanding across the Coast

Please attribute the following to Ralph La Salle, Acting Executive Director Planning, Funding and Decision Support,... more


View all updates