Getting the COVID-19 vaccine before travel

13 August 2021

New Zealand’s COVID-19 vaccination programme is now under way for all groups. From 1 September, everyone aged 16 and over can book their vaccination appointments.

The Government has published information about the vaccine here: COVID-19: Vaccines | Ministry of Health NZ and information about how to book appointments is here: COVID-19: The vaccine rollout | Ministry of Health NZ 

New Zealand’s vaccination program uses the Pfizer vaccine, which involves two vaccinations at least 21 days apart (and it is recommended to allow at least six weeks between doses). Where possible, it is recommended that you allow at least four days between receiving the second vaccine dose and travelling to avoid any side effects that could complicate travel.  

Official advice is that New Zealanders should not travel internationally other than to countries with quarantine-free travel arrangements.  

New Zealand’s borders are currently closed to almost all travellers except New Zealanders. Everyone arriving in New Zealand (with the exception of those arriving from quarantine-free countries) is required to complete 14 days in a Government-run managed isolation facility (MIF) to ensure they do not have COVID-19 prior to entering the community. This protects public safety and minimises the potential spread of COVID-19. This currently applies regardless of vaccination status, so every person who is approved for early access to the vaccine will still need to complete 14-days in MIF when they return to New Zealand. 

Early access to COVID-19 vaccinations

If you need to travel overseas from New Zealand and have not yet been able to access vaccination before your confirmed travel date, you may be able to apply for an early COVID-19 vaccine. 

Applicants must meet the following criteria: 

  • be 16 years old or over 
  • have a flight booked on or before 15 November 2021 
  • be able to be fully vaccinated before departure 
  • be able to provide supporting evidence for all requirements, including evidence of your confirmed flight booking with departure details and destination(s). 

Please read the Ministry of Health’s information about how to apply for early access to vaccine. There is a questionnaire that you must complete before you can apply. If you meet the criteria, a form is provided at the end of the questionnaire, which you must complete and email to the Ministry of Health along with the travel itinerary as proof of your booked travel. 

Please note that: 

  • You need to apply at least eight weeks before your confirmed travel date.  
  • The Ministry of Health aims to process applications within five working days. 
  • Approval for early access to vaccination does not include any travel arrangements or bookings in MIQ facilities. Your travel plans will still be dependent on a confirmed booking in a Government approved MIQ facility. 
  • If you do decide to travel overseas, you need to be aware of the risks of doing so and should ensure that you have a comprehensive health and safety plan in place for your travel. This plan should be approved by a senior officer of your National Sports Organisation. Even if you are vaccinated before you travel, you will still need to take precautions, and will be required to undertake 14 days in a managed isolation facility on your return (unless you are returning from a destination which has a quarantine-free travel agreement with New Zealand). For more information, see thisguidance about preparing for international travel

If you have any questions related to early access to vaccinations then feel free to contact us at: vaccine@sportnz.org.nz.

You may send other questions related to international travel to internationaltravel@sportnz.org.nz

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