Vaccine FAQs - Te Arawa - COVID-19 Response

Vaccine FAQs

How safe is the vaccine?

Medsafe – New Zealand’s medicines safety authority – only grants consent for a vaccine to be used in Aotearoa once it is satisfied it’s safe and effective enough to use.

All vaccines go through the same safety test and must meet the same robust standards.

There have been no shortcuts in granting approval.

How does the vaccine work?

The COVID-19 vaccine works by teaching your body to fight the virus and it helps protect you from getting sick.

You will need two doses of the vaccine, at least 21 days apart. To ensure you have the best protection, make sure you get both doses.

The vaccine does not give you COVID-19.

What are the common side effects?

Like all medicines, the vaccine may cause side effects in some people.

These are common, usually mild, don’t last long and won’t stop you from having the second dose or going about your daily life.

Common side effects:

Pain, swelling or redness at the injection site


Feeling tired or fatigued

Muscle aches

Feeling generally unwell



Joint pain


It’s important to wait 15 minutes after your vaccination to ensure you do not have any side effects – please speak with a health professional if you do.

When can I get a vaccination?

Everyone over the age of 12 years can now book their vaccine. There are two vaccine locations in Rotorua. Click here to book.

You’ll need to get two vaccinations, at least 21 days apart. We will also be going out to whānau with a mobile site over the coming weeks and months. Keep up-to-date with the latest information on our Facebook page.

Who should not get a vaccination?

If any of the following apply to you, you will need to speak with your doctor or another health professional prior to being vaccinated:

If you’re on blood-thinning medication

If you’re receiving cancer treatment

If you’re sick

If you’ve had an allergic reaction to any vaccine

Why should I get vaccinated?

Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself, your whānau, and our community from COVID-19, especially those who may not be able to be immunised due to underlying health reasons.

Is there a cost?

No. The government has bought enough doses to ensure everyone who would like one will be able to get one.

Why is COVID-19 still a serious concern for New Zealand, and for Māori in particular?

COVID-19 continues to cause widespread devastation globally. The virus has also intensified and more infectious variants have developed, as we have seen in August 2021 with the Delta outbreak.

While we have been fortunate in Aotearoa due to closed borders, the potential risk is extremely high, and we need to do everything we can to combat it. History has shown us that Māori are particularly vulnerable to severe health impacts from COVID-19, and the way we live and work means we may also be more likely to contract it if there is an outbreak.

Where can I get more information?

We encourage everyone to seek reliable, official sources of information when making the decision to vaccinate.

We recommend the following sites: