COVID-19 vaccine and flu vaccine

The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine is happening at the same time as the annual flu vaccine campaign. Find out what this means for you.

On this page, you can find the following information:

The Pfizer vaccine is being rolled out across Aotearoa New Zealand to help prevent COVID-19. The Pfizer vaccine is available to people 16 years of age and older. Read more about the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

The annual flu vaccine programme is also happening over the coming months. Read more about the flu vaccine

To protect yourself, your whānau and your community from both diseases, you need to make sure you get both vaccines. Because there needs to be some time between each vaccination, you need to plan ahead to get both.

When will I be able to get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine?

The Government started to roll out this vaccination in March 2021. The first people to get this vaccine are those most at risk of harm if they get the virus and those who live and work in places where they are most likely to pick up COVID-19. Other people will be able to get the vaccine during this year.

Read more about the 
COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan to work out when you will be able to get vaccinated. This vaccine is free to all New Zealanders.

When will the 2021 flu vaccine programme start?

This year's flu vaccine programme starts on 14 April 2021 for people aged 65 and over. The programme for people aged under 65 will start in early May (the Ministry of Health will confirm this date as soon as possible). It runs until 31 December 2021. All groups can be vaccinated until then. Read more about this year's flu vaccine programme, including who can get a free flu vaccination. 

Can the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine be given with the flu vaccine?

No, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine can't be given at the same time as the flu vaccine.

You need to have at least 2 weeks between the the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine.

Having a gap between 2 different vaccinations makes it easier to work out which vaccine may be responsible for any side effects.

Note that you need 2 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. These are given at least 21 days apart. This means you will need to either have your flu vaccination 2 weeks before your first Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine or 2 weeks after your second Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. 

Which vaccine is the priority this year?

If you are due for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine, having the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine takes priority over having the flu vaccine. If both become available to you at the same time, it's best that you have both Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations before getting the flu vaccination.

Is it still important to have the flu vaccine?

Yes, it is still important to have the flu vaccine. The flu is a serious illness that causes hundreds of deaths each winter in New Zealand, and thousands of hospital admissions and doctor's visits.

As well as saving the lives of the more vulnerable members of our communities, improving our population's protection against the flu also improves our ability to manage any increased demand on health services as a result of COVID-19.

Learn more

For other reliable and accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines, see:

Karawhiua A campaign for whānau, hapū, iwi and Māori communities to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, Te Puni Kōkiri (Ministry for Māori Development), NZ
COVID-19 vaccination rollout for Northland and Auckland IMAC, NZ, 2021
Getting vaccinated for COVID-19
 The Immunisation Advisory Centre, NZ
Covid-19 Education Immunisation Advisory Centre, NZ
COVID-19: Vaccine planning Ministry of Health, NZ
COVID-19 therapeutic products – questions and answers Medsafe, NZ
Facts about COVID-19 vaccines Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Vaccines World Health Organization
Questions and answers about COVID-19 vaccines Children's Hospital of Philadelphia 

Credits: Health Navigator Editorial Team. Last reviewed: 08 Apr 2021