Coronavirus: 12 to 15-year-olds now eligible for Pfizer vaccine in New Zealand

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is now available for 12 to 15-year-olds.

Medsafe gave provisional approval of this in June and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Thursday Cabinet has agreed to make it available for this age group.

The Pfizer vaccine is already approved for 12 to 15-year-olds in Canada, the United States, Europe, and Japan.

Twelve to 15-year-olds will be eligible for the vaccine from September 1. However from Friday, parents and caregivers currently eligible for the vaccine will be able to book their 12 to 15-year-olds at the same time they book their own appointment. If parents have a vaccine appointment already booked, they can bring their children along and they can get their vaccine too.

"This is not a decision we have taken lightly. Many of us are parents ourselves and take this duty of making decisions about other people's children extremely seriously," Ardern says.

"But it is safe and it's the right thing to do."

Jacinda Ardern.
Jacinda Ardern. Photo credit: Getty Images

There are an estimated 265,000 people in the 12 to 15-year-old age bracket and Ardern says there are "more than enough" Pfizer vaccines for everyone.

Currently, everyone aged 40 and over can get the vaccine. Bookings for people aged 30 and over open on August 25 and then for everyone else on September 1.

A total of 2,610,855 COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in New Zealand, as of 11:59pm on Wednesday. This number is made up of 1,656,315 first doses and 954,540 second doses.