This is our main page for the COVID-19 vaccination rollout. It is regularly updated with the most recent and important information.
Pinnacle is connected with all DHBs planning teams who are charged with rolling out the vaccination programmes in their regions. We will keep this page fully updated and publish regular newsletter updates.
Information about COVID-19, including current Alert Levels and guidelines for general practice in each Alert Level can be found on our COVID-19 news page.
Updates specific to vaccinating practices can be found on our Information for COVID-19 vaccinating practices page.
The vaccine requires two doses and takes around two weeks until it begins to provide protection. You need two doses of the mRNA-CV vaccine to give you the best protection against the virus.
In response to the ongoing Delta outbreak the Ministry of Health is advising New Zealanders to consider a shorter gap between doses of the Pfizer vaccine than the current standard of six weeks (42 days). A three week gap remains the minimum.
View our resource page 'COVID-19 business owner resources' linked below. This includes information on available financial assistance, support for your workforce, regulations to be aware of and more.
Vaccine booking appointments are now open to all people over 12 years. This is regardless of residency or visa status.
The Ministry of Health regularly publishes statistics on the rollout programme. The data is updated weekly on Wednesdays.
The Ministry of Health has advised the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine can be administered at the same time, before or after most other vaccines, with the exception of the Shingles Zostavax vaccine, which needs a gap of seven days.
The recommendations are based on immunological principles and existing knowledge on vaccines, as was the USA’s similar recommendation.
Initially the COVID-19 vaccine was given separately from other vaccines in order to monitor any adverse events after COVID-19 vaccine, separately from events after any other vaccine. Now the COVID-19 vaccine has been widely used and its effects well-documented and understood, separate administration for this reason is no longer needed.
Existing vaccination programmes can continue to go ahead as planned, without COVID-19 vaccinations impacting this. The exception to this is for the Zostavax (shingles) vaccine where a 7-day interval, before or after administering Pfizer COVID-19 is advised.
Zostovax vaccine requires a gap because older individuals that are administered the live-attenuated zoster vaccine (Zostavax) and the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the same time could potentially have a reduced immune response to one or both of the vaccines.
Please continue to enter COVID-19 vaccine events into the CIR and any other vaccines into the NIR / PMS separately. The CIR will be updated over time but hasn't been yet (as of 28 September 2021).
If providers can offer other vaccines at the same time as giving the COVID-19 vaccine, this should be encouraged to ensure that people are up to date with their immunisation schedule.
A new support team has been set up to help people with disabilities get vaccinated. The 30-strong team answering calls are either disabled themselves or allies of the community. They assist disabled people and their carers to get information about the vaccine, make bookings, organise tailored support at vaccination sites and arrange transport. People can call the COVID Vaccination Healthline on 0800 28 29 26 for free 8am–8pm Monday to Friday and ‘push 2’ to speak to the team.
"Will ACC cover us for the time spent dealing with post-vaccine consultations? We spent ages with a patient with chest pain and breathlessness the other day…."
ACC will cover 'treatment injury' - where the patient has a defined injury that is not an expected part of the treatment. So if your patient does have myocarditis / pericarditis the case is likely to be covered, if the patient faints after a vaccine or gets a sore arm, then probably not. IMAC has good information on this but given these decisions are up to ACC, put in a treatment injury claim.
You may receive calls from people who have received the vaccine and suspect they may have experienced a side effect related to the vaccination. Like all medicines, the vaccine may cause side effects in some people. These are common, are usually mild and don’t last long and won’t stop you from having the second dose or going about your daily life.
A reporting form for adverse events following immunisation (AEFIs) with COVID-19 vaccines is available on the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM) website and is designed to make reporting of AEFIs easier. Please use this form to report all suspected AEFIs for COVID-19 vaccines. You do not have to be certain that the vaccine caused the event in order to report.
Medsafe is actively encouraging healthcare professionals and members of the public to report suspected AEFIs for COVID-19 vaccines to:
Medsafe and regulators across the globe are sharing emerging anonymised safety data. See the data sheet (PDF) and consumer medicine information summary (PDF) for the expected reactions for approved COVID-19 vaccines.
Medsafe is publishing weekly safety monitoring reports associated with COVID-19 vaccination.
View the 30 August IMAC newsletter regarding Myocarditis and the COVID-19 vaccine, including key points for vaccinators.
The Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) is your local source of scientific and clinical information regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. It has a wide range of useful clinical COVID-19 resources, including frequently asked questions.
If you require more immediate clinical advice, including in the context of an individual patient or event, please call 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863). This is staffed by clinical advisors from 8am-8pm, seven days a week. Clinicians can also email email@example.com for advice.
Alternatively you can speak to your Pinnacle GP liaison, or Dr Jo Scott-Jones, medical director if you think it is a question with an answer worth sharing broadly in the network. Contacts listed below.
Practices receive inbox messages notifying when a patient has had a COVID-19 vaccination.
indici practices can automatically file the CIR notification
Click on the file within the notification of the CIR message and it creates the immunisation within the patient record. This looks no different to, for example, receiving a 'given elsewhere' vaccine for a flu vaccination, except it says 'CIR notification' rather than 'NIR notification'.
Non-indici practices have a more manual process
It’s suggested practices use the information to record the vaccine as “given elsewhere”, then file the result. Eventually the COVID-19 Immunisation Register (CIR) will work in a similar way to the NIR, with an automatic ability to 'update details' in the system. We will update with those details once that's up and running.
We all have a responsibility to stop misinformation and conspiracy theories spreading.
To support this approach, the Ministry of Health continue to provide clear, consistent access to trusted and transparent information. As always, people should only go to trusted sources for their information and should carefully consider what they pass on.
The Ministry of Health has provided guidance on responding to COVID-19 false information.
If you see something about the vaccine that doesn’t seem right, if it’s on social media report it to the platform – anything else report it to CERT NZ or call 0800 2378 69.
A statement has been developed by ASCIA, the peak professional body of clinical immunology/allergy specialists in Australia and New Zealand as a guide for COVID-19 vaccination in people with allergy, immunodeficiency and autoimmune conditions, and is updated when new information is available.
The NZ Region of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand, the NZ Cardiac Clinical Network, the National Cardiothoracic Surgery Clinical Network and the National Heart Foundation of New Zealand recommend all patients with cardiovascular disease are vaccinated with Comirnaty (Pfizer) or another approved vaccine as early as possible.
Te Aho o Te Kahu, the Cancer Control Agency, has recently released advice for clinicians on COVID-19 vaccines and cancer. People with cancer are at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and are more likely to develop a serious infection. The advice supports people with cancer receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and outlines those who should be prioritised to receive it.
Read the documentation regarding updated service levels on our website.
The Ministry of Health encourages people who are pregnant to get a COVID-19 vaccine as part of Group 3 at any stage of their pregnancy. This is because people who are pregnant can become very sick if they get COVID-19.
Data from the large number of pregnant people who have already been vaccinated globally shows that there are no additional safety concerns with giving COVID-19 vaccines at any stage of pregnancy.
Vaccinating during pregnancy may also be helpful for the baby as there’s evidence that infants can get antibodies to the virus through cord blood and breast milk.
Ministry of Health advice related to pregnancy and the COVID-19 vaccine as well as vaccine advice for other specific groups can be found on their website.
As with all vaccines on the New Zealand Immunisation Schedule, there are no safety concerns about giving mRNA COVID-19 vaccine to women who are breastfeeding.
Scammers will use any opportunity to try to trick and manipulate people into giving out their personal or financial details, especially through email and SMS scams. CERT NZ is working to put a stop to COVID-19 vaccine scam campaigns and ensure the safe roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Government cyber security agency, CERT NZ has been made aware of examples of COVID-19 vaccine scams overseas. It is felt that is is only a matter of time before scams evolve to become New Zealand focused. It pays to remain vigilant as the vaccine rollout starts. If you’re unsure if something is legitimate you can report it confidentially to the COVID-19 vaccine scam reporting government agency CERT NZ.
CERT NZ has set up a dedicated web page and email address for reporting - COVID-19 scams - cert.govt.nz
People working in the health sector are seen as trusted sources of information that people may come to for guidance. Some important points to remember are:
ACC can provide treatment and support for injuries caused by COVID-19 vaccination if the criteria for treatment injury are met. This means there’s a physical injury caused by the vaccination, that’s not a necessary part or ordinary consequence of the treatment.
For example, inflammation around the site of the injection is common with COVID-19 vaccination (an ordinary consequence) and is unlikely to be covered. Infections (such as cellulitis or septic arthritis) due to the vaccination, and anaphylaxis resulting in injury, are not ordinary consequences and are likely to be covered.
To make a treatment injury claim for a patient you will need to complete an ACC2152 treatment injury claim form as well as an electronic or manual ACC45 injury claim form.
To help with ACC's reporting, ACC needs to know the COVID-19 vaccine brand name and vaccination dose number (i.e. dose one or two). This can be noted in the following ways.
Further information is in the related resources linked below.
The Ministry of Health advice is under active review - please use their website as the source of correct, up to date information at all times.
Jan Adams, Nursing Director
021 904 460