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What does it do?

The COVID-19 vaccine helps protect you against severe COVID-19 infection. It means you could have milder or no COVID-19 symptoms and recover faster.

Before you start

  • Tell your health professional if you currently feel unwell or have a fever.
  • Tell your health professional if you have HIV, receive dialysis, take medicines which weaken your immune system, or if you have had heart inflammation (myocarditis) after a previous COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Tell your health professional if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.

How is it given?

The COVID-19 vaccine is given as an injection into a muscle. It will be given to you by a health professional.

You will need to wait for at least 15 minutes after having your vaccine, to check you don’t have an allergic reaction.

What if you forget a dose?

You can manage your booking online at or by phoning 0800 28 29 26.

Can you take other medicines?

Tell your pharmacist or doctor about all medicines or treatments that you may be taking, including vitamins, herbal products or recreational drugs.

What side effects might you notice?

Side EffectsRecommended action

Flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, aches and pains, nausea, headache, tiredness or weakness)

Pain, tenderness or redness at injection site

This usually passes after a few days, take paracetamol if needed. Tell your health professional if troublesome.

Symptoms of allergy including: skin rash, itching, swelling, trouble breathing

Tell your health professional immediately

Symptoms of heart inflammation including: fluttering, pounding or pain in your chest, shortness of breath

Tell your doctor immediately

If you notice any other effects, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

Other information:

  • The COVID-19 vaccine may cause swelling of your lymph nodes (a lump in your armpit or neck). Tell your doctor if they are still swollen after 6 weeks. If you have a CT scan or breast screening appointment, tell your health professional you have had your vaccine within the last 6 weeks.

This leaflet contains important, but not all, information about this medicine.

Prepared by the MyMedicines Committee at Christchurch Hospital, Te Whatu Ora - Waitaha, New Zealand. July 2024

For more general information about this sheet and its contents, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

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About My Medicines

My Medicines Patient Information Leaflets (PILs) contain important, but not all, information about the medicines they describe.

For more information about the sheets, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

My Medicines is developed by a team at Te Whatu Ora – Waitaha. Our team is made up of doctors, pharmacists, and a non-medical person to help us keep to plain language. We also discuss our information with specialist health professionals or groups when needed