COVID-19 Immunisation For Children & Teens With Diabetes

COVID-19 Immunisation For Children & Teens With Diabetes

Young people with diabetes aged 16 years and over are currently eligible for COVID-19 immunisation. Information for those aged 12 to 15 years will be available in coming months.


Why is immunisation against COVID-19 important?

Immunisation against COVID-19 is one of the most important tools we have available to:

  • help gain control of the current world-wide COVID-19 pandemic
  • prevent the emergence of new COVID-19 variants which may spread more easily

So far, worldwide adult COVID-19 immunisation drives are proving extremely effective at both:

  • preventing COVID-19 infection and
  • reducing severe COVID-19 symptoms and hospitalisation

What stage is COVID-19 immunisation at in New Zealand?

New Zealand has 4 stages to its COVID-19 immunisation campaign

In New Zealand, there are 4 stages to the COVID-19 immunisation campaign. Those at greatest risk are the first to have their immunisation. Stages 1 and 2 are largely complete (and include boarder workers and health staff).

Immunisation of group 3 has now started

Group 3 includes 'priority populations' - about 1.7 million people who are at higher risk if they catch COVID-19.

Group 3 includes all those who were previously eligible for flu shots every year. This includes all those with diabetes who are 16 years and over.

Group 3 includes all those with diabetes who are 16 years and over.

Immunisation of group 4

Immunisation of group 4 will begin with those people over 60 years of age and work down the age bands. Later in 2021, there will be a focus on giving the COVID-19 vaccine to younger adults, including those 16 years and over.

Minimum age for having the COVID-19 vaccine

In New Zealand, immunisation against COVID-19 is currently for young people aged 16 years and over. Children under 16 years of age are currently not eligible for COVID-19 immunisation. They are likely to be included in the coming months because Medsafe has confirmed the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine works well and is safe for children 12 years and older. Canada, the United States, Europe, the United Kingdom and Japan have all approved use for those 12 and older.

Where to get up to date information on COVID-19 immunisation

Please see the 'Unite Against COVID-19' website for more details and up to date information on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout timing.

COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan

The 'Unite Against COVID-19' website also provides details of who can get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Check who can get the COVID-19 vaccine

Which children with diabetes can have the COVID-19 vaccine now?

Young people with diabetes aged 16 years and over are in group 3 and are currently eligible for COVID-19 immunisation.

Information for those aged 12 to 15 years will be available in coming months.

Why immunise my child with diabetes against COVID-19?

Although fewer children have been infected with COVID-19 compared to adults, children can:

  • be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19
  • get sick from COVID-19
  • spread COVID-19 to others

People with diabetes may be more at risk of severe forms of the COVID-19 disease.

The Paediatric Society Clinical Network for Diabetes recommends all eligible children with diabetes should have the COVID-19 vaccine when available to help protect against COVID-19. Widespread immunisation is a critical tool to help stop the pandemic.

Is it safe for my child with diabetes to have the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes. Studies show that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. Like adults, children and young people may have some side effects after COVID-19 immunisation. These side effects may affect their ability to do daily activities, but the side effects should go away in a few days. The risk of harm to children from COVID-19 infection remains much higher than the risk to them from vaccine side effects.

The Pfizer vaccine

  • is a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine
  • does not contain any live virus, or dead or deactivated virus
  • can't give you COVID-19
  • can't affect your DNA

You can read more about vaccine development, safety, and side effects.

Read about vaccine development and safety at the 'Unite Against COVID-19' website

Read about COVID-19 vaccines and diabetes at the Diabetes New Zealand website

Side effects

Like all medicines, you might experience some mild side effects 1 to 2 days after your immunisation. This is common, and a sign that your body is learning to fight the virus. For those who do feel uncomfortable or unwell afterwards, the suggestions at the 'Unite Against COVID-19' website are to:

  • place a cold, wet cloth or ice pack on the injection site for a short time
  • rest and drink plenty of fluids
  • consider taking paracetamol or ibuprofen

If you're taking paracetamol or ibuprofen, follow the dosage instructions. It is dangerous to give more than the recommended dose.


The content on this page has been approved by the Clinical Network for Children and Young People with Diabetes, Paediatric Society of New Zealand and Diabetes New Zealand. 

This page last reviewed 02 July 2021.

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