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COVID 19 vaccine

Updated: Jun 5, 2022

Who can get the Pfizer vaccine?

Everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand aged 5 years and over can book their free COVID-19 vaccination now. It doesn’t matter what your visa or citizenship status is.

The Pfizer vaccine is a vaccine for preventing the coronavirus disease COVID-19, which is caused by SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2).

How does the Pfizer vaccine work?

The Pfizer vaccine works by preparing your body to defend itself against COVID-19. The Pfizer vaccine does not contain the virus itself and cannot cause COVID-19.

The Pfizer vaccine is called an mRNA vaccine. It contains a molecule called mRNA which has instructions for making the spike protein on the surface of the virus. The virus needs this spike protein to enter your body’s cells.

When you are given the vaccine, some of your cells will read the mRNA instructions and temporarily produce the spike protein. Your immune system will then recognise this protein as foreign and produce antibodies to attack it. If, later on, you come into contact with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, your immune system will recognise it and be ready to defend your body against it. The mRNA from the vaccine does not stay in your body but is broken down shortly after vaccination.

Read more at Health Navigator NZ about the vaccine, view videos and factsheets.

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