Covid-19 Vaccines in New Zealand what are we getting Today?

Just in case you wanted to know.

I did, so I looked it up.

Whether you are a border worker in New Zealand, someone close to them, or a health care worker you are likely to get the Pfizer vaccine, the first of the vaccines New Zealand has purchased. If you fit into the ‘older’ category you may also get this vaccine. The Covid19 vaccine that New Zealand is currently using is the ‘Pfizer BNT162b2 Vaccine’ which I first read about here in an article on the Herald site when trying to find out the latest covid figures. Which are often not visible on news sites!

The vaccine is made by Pfizer a Huge US pharmaceutical company and BioNTech a German biotech company.

The Uk approved the vaccines on December 2 last year and the US FDA on December 11. In December New Zealand began entering agreements to purchase vaccines. Cabinet approved the administration of 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and BioNTech in early February. Enough for 750,000 people. They are in the process of purchasing millions of doses of vaccines from other providers AstraZeneca, Novavax and Janssen. Many of these will be used for pacific Island countries and are a different type of vaccine.

The vaccine got approved super quick

The Pfizer BNT162b2 Vaccine has been approved super quickly. Approval process for drugs can be 10 – 15 years. Fastest vaccine ever was for the Mumps and that took 4 years.

But they are not really cutting corners here, just time. The Phase 3 trial involved more than 40,000 people. It began in July and will continue to collect efficacy and safety data.

Side Effects

The vaccine triggers an inflammatory response but this is actually part of the process of stirring your body into an immune response. The most commonly reported side effects, which typically lasted several days, were pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, and fever. Of note, more people experienced these side effects after the second dose than after the first dose.

These side effects would appear to be slightly more than common for vaccines but not unusual.

It is taken in two doses 21 days apart.

Pfizer BNT162b2 Effectiveness

The vaccine is 55 – 85% effective within 15 – 28 days of the first dose. Which has made some Governments wonder if they should just roll out the first dose to everyone first.

Results of Pfizer’s phase three study, showed the vaccine was safe and 95-percent effective in protecting against COVID-19 in people 16 and older.

It’s a new type of vaccine

The Pfizer vaccine, that is currently being used in NZ is what is known as a nucleic-acid vaccine

The job of a vaccine is, basically, to instruct your immune system in how to recognise the virus so that if it sees it it stops it. Vaccines have traditionally been made in a few ways and some of the other Coronavirus vaccines use the virus in a killed or weakened state, use a part or a fragment of the virus, insert instructions (basically) into a known virus (like a cold).


The use of Nucleic acid is relatively new. It’s been used for cancer treatments for a while so there is some long term evidence that the method seems okay. The process relies on injecting snippets of a virus’s genetic material, either DNA or messenger RNA (mRNA), into human cells. It spurs the production of viral proteins that mimic features of the coronavirus, training the immune system to recognize its presence.(


Covid 19 spike proteinIn the case of COVID-19, a piece called the spike protein is the critical piece. Scientists know the exact structure of the mRNA that makes the critical piece of a virus’s protein coat, such as the spike protein of the COVID-19 virus. So they can replicate just that part of the virus. Here’s how it works: What if you injected that mRNA into someone, and the mRNA then traveled through the bloodstream to be gobbled up by immune system cells, and then those cells started to make the spike protein? Would that educate the immune system? (

It’s a quite modern process, mRNA vaccines trick the body into making the viral protein itself. It has great promise because mRNA can be used with things like cancer and has already been used in trials for melanoma.

So. I am interested to see if there are any long term effects at all on early recipients of the vaccine.                           And when it gets to my turn there will be more knowledge about long term effects.

But I don’t think I’d have an issue taking it.



Know that I am not a Doctor or a person with any real knowledge of this field. I have simply reported on what I have found.

You should do your own research.

People at risk of anaphalactic shock MUST tell the provider if they are having a Covid Vaccine.

This article from National Geographic is the best I have found on the different vaccines.


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