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Cartoon image of a man showing his arm where he received a vaccination

Today the Government announced that new COVID-19 vaccination bookings will default to a three-week (21 day minimum) interval between doses. Those with existing bookings at an interval of six weeks can consider shifting their second dose to an earlier time.

Key points

  • With COVID-19 now in the community, especially in Auckland, it is important for all people at highest risk of severe disease - older adults and those with comorbidities - to receive two-dose vaccine protection as soon as possible.
  • The Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine provides a very high level of protection against infection and severe illness due to the delta variant of COVID-19 after two doses, when the second dose is given a minimum of 21 days after the first.
  • Now that hundreds of millions of doses have been given across the world, and millions of doses in New Zealand, we know that the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has an excellent safety profile.
  • Younger people, especially those aged 12 to 16 years, have very strong immune responses after the first dose which place them at much lower risk of severe illness before the second dose than older age groups. The Immunisation Advisory Centre recommends that young people who have reactions in the few days after their first dose requiring medication or time off school (indicating a strong immune response) wait for 6 weeks until receiving the second dose.

Find more information about vaccine spacing here.