Just drop into Home Pharmacy for your next immunisation

Vaccinations FAQ
  • Vaccinations are not just for kids. Adults need them too.
  • The protection of some childhood vaccines can wear off over time, and as you get older your immune system tends to weaken, putting you at higher risk of certain diseases.
  • Find out which vaccines are free for adults in New Zealand and when you can get them.

Free Vaccines available for adults

The following vaccines are free for adults in New Zealand

  • Flu vaccine: Every winter from age 55 years for Māori and Pasifika and 65 years for anyone else. The flu vaccine is also free for some people with certain medical conditions.
  • Shingles vaccine (Shingrix): One dose at age 65 years. 
  • Tetanus vaccine: From 45 years (if you have not already received 4 doses of tetanus-containing vaccine) and 65 years for anyone else.
  • Measles vaccine (MMR): Anyone born on/after 1 January 1969 who has not had two doses of the MMR vaccine should have the MMR vaccine.
  • COVID vaccines: Adults over 16 years are eligible for 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccine and a booster. If you are over 50 years you are eligible for 2 boosters.
  • Whooping cough: For 45 years, 65 years and during pregnancy 
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) (Gardasil 9): HPV vaccine is available free for everyone aged 9–26 years

Other vaccines available at the pharmacy

Home Pharmacy are also able to provide privately funded vaccinations, including:

  • Meningococcal (meningitis): Meningococcal ACYW (MenQuadfi) and Meningococcal B (Bexsero) are available to anyone 16 years of age or over.
  • Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough): Available to anyone 18 years of age or over or pregnant women.
  • Cholera – This can be purchased as an oral liquid from your pharmacy.
  • Zoster (shingles): Available to anyone 50 years of age or over.

Flu Vaccine

Yearly vaccination against the flu is the best way to protect our communities from infection and serious illness. It is advisable for anyone over the age of 6 months to have the flu vaccine. In New Zealand the flu vaccine is free for Māori and Pasifika every year from the age of 55 years and from 65 years for anyone else. These groups are at higher risk of getting the flu and complications, which may involve being admitted to hospital.

Shingle Vaccine

Shingles is a painful, itchy skin rash. It usually appears as blisters around one side of your chest, but it can also be on your trunk, back, legs or face. It is most common in people over 70 years of age, but can happen in younger people. It is caused by the same virus (varicella zoster) that causes chickenpox. 

In New Zealand, Shingrix (2 doses) is are available to anyone 50 years and older but only free (funded) for people aged 65 years.


Tetanus is a serious disease caused by bacteria usually found in soil and manure. It affects your nervous system and causes severe muscle spasms, mainly in your jaw and neck. Tetanus can affect your breathing and can be life threatening.

Anyone who hasn’t had 3 tetanus-containing vaccines is at risk of getting tetanus. People over 50 years of age (particularly women) are most likely to suffer from tetanus. This is because the National Childhood Immunisation Programme with tetanus vaccine only started in 1960. Before 1960, tetanus vaccination was only routinely given to armed forces personnel.

The effect of the vaccine wears off over time so having tetanus vaccines as a child will not provide life-long cover. You need booster doses as an adult. Booster doses may also be needed after dirty cuts, grazes and wounds if it has been more than 5 years since the last booster. 

Free booster doses are available for:

  • adults 65 years and above unless they have already received a booster within the past ten years
  • adults 45 years of age who have not previously received four doses of tetanus-containing vaccine.

Note: the cost of the vaccine is free, but there may be a small charge for the injection to be given.



HPV vaccine helps protects against a virus that causes several cancers that can affect anyone. These include cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina and anus in women, or cancers of the anus and penis in men, and possibly throat cancers for both men and women. The vaccine is also effective at preventing genital warts. 

  • The vaccine works by causing your body’s immune system to produce its own protection (antibodies) against the HPV types most likely to cause cancer or genital warts.
  • If an immunised person comes into contact with HPV, the antibodies in their blood will fight the virus and protect them against being infected.
  • It usually takes several weeks after vaccination to develop protection against HPV.  

Protection from the vaccine is long-lasting and is not expected to wear off over time.



Menactra® or MenQuadfi®, and Bexsero® vaccines are free for people aged 13 to 25 years during their first year of living in boarding school hostel, university hall of residence, military barracks or prison, or 3 months before they move in. 

  • Bexsero is also funded for people 13 to 25 years of age who are currently living in boarding school hostels, tertiary education halls of residence, military barracks or prisons, from 1 March 2023 until 28 February 2024 as a catch up.
  • You will need: 
    • 1 dose of the Menactra® or MenQuadfi® vaccine and,
    • 2 doses of the Bexsero vaccine. The second dose can be given eight weeks after first dose.