COVID-19 Immunisation For Children & Teens With Diabetes

COVID-19 Immunisation For Children & Teens With Diabetes

Young people with diabetes aged 12 years and over can have their COVID-19 immunisation now. When parents or caregivers make their own appointments, they can also make appointments for their children aged 12 and over. That means children can have their immunisation at the same time as their parents or caregivers.


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 the need to spend tie in hospital

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 have been the first to have their immunisation. Stages 1 and 2 are largely complete (and include border workers and health staff).

Group 3 includes those at higher risk if they catch COVID-19. It includes all those who can get free flu shots every year. All those with diabetes who are 16 years and over are in group 3. Everyone in group 3 can have their immunisation now.

Immunisation of group 4 has started - everyone aged 12 and over

All those aged 12 and over can have their COVID-19 immunisation now.

All those 12 years and over can now start having the COVID-19 vaccine. This includes all children and young people with diabetes 12 years and over.

Minimum age for having the COVID-19 vaccine

In New Zealand, immunisation against COVID-19 is for children and young people aged 12 years and over. Children under 12 years of age cannot have COVID-19 immunisation at this stage.

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

You can check the page on COVID-19 immunisation in children aged 12 and over

Please also 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

Why immunise my child with diabetes against COVID-19?

Children can:

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

There is some evidence that children with type 1 diabetes are at more risk of getting severe illness with COVID-19. 

The Paediatric Society Clinical Network for Diabetes recommends all children 12 years and over with diabetes should have the COVID-19 vaccine when available to help protect against COVID-19. Widespread immunisation is a very important 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 with any medicine, you might have 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 01 September 2021.

Call Healthline on 0800 611 116 any time of the day or night for free health advice when you need it