Getting vaccinated

COVID-19 is an infectious disease that spreads quickly from person to person. While it's been with us for a while now in Aotearoa, it can still make people very sick. By following healthy habits we can reduce it's spread. 

The best protection against the virus is to be vaccinated. Make sure you and your whānau aged five and older get the vaccine, and stay up to date with any booster doses you may need. You can book a vaccine appointment online or by free-calling 0800 28 29 26.

If you have cold or flu symptoms it's important to stay home and take a test. This will reduce the risk of you passing on COVID-19 to others if you have it. For health advice you can contact your doctor, or call Healthline for free anytime on 0800 358 5453. 

If you have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms get a test as soon as you start to feel unwell. Taking a test and reporting the result in My Covid Record means you can get help as early as possible if you need it.

For help with testing or to access testing services, visit HealthPoint.

If your test is negative but you’re still unwell it's recommended you stay home for 48 hours and then take another test. Get medical help if this second test is negative but you’re still unwell, or if your symptoms get worse. Call your doctor or ring Healthline for free on 0800 358 5453.

Visit Unite Against COVID-19 for more advice on getting tested and what to do if you have symptoms.

COVID-19 symptoms can include one or more of the following:

  • a new or worsening cough
  • sneezing and runny nose
  • a fever
  • temporary loss of smell or altered sense of taste
  • sore throat
  • shortness of breath
  • fatigue/feeling of tiredness.

Less common symptoms may include:

  • diarrhoea
  • headache
  • muscle pain or body aches
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • malaise — a general feeling of discomfort, illness or unease
  • chest pain
  • abdominal pain
  • joint pain
  • confusion or irritability.

These less common symptoms almost always occur with one or more of the common symptoms.

These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have COVID-19. The symptoms are like other illnesses that are much more common, such as colds and flu.

Shortness of breath is a sign of possible pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention. Call 111 if you’re having difficulty breathing.

COVID-19 mostly spreads through the air, in the same way as the cold or flu. It can be passed on by an infected person coughing, sneezing, speaking, shouting, singing or breathing near others.

A person is most likely to spread the virus in the days around them getting symptoms. Some individuals may pass on COVID-19 to others before they develop symptoms.

The risk of becoming infected increases the closer you are to a person with COVID-19, and the longer you are close to that person. The risk of the virus spreading also increases in poorly ventilated indoor spaces, and if people are not wearing well-fitted face masks.

The best protection against COVID-19 is the vaccine. It is free for everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand aged five or older. It doesn't matter what your visa or citizenship status is.

You can book a vaccine appointment online or over the phone by free-calling 0800 28 29 26.

It’s important to stay up to date with your COVID-19 vaccinations — including boosters – as the protection the vaccine provides against the virus decreases over time. You should get vaccinated even if you’ve had COVID-19 already, as you can still catch it again.

Learn more about the vaccine

If you have COVID-19 it's recommended you isolate for at least five days while you recover. This will reduce the risk of you passing on the virus to others.

If you test positive for COVID-19 other people you live with do not need to self-isolate, but it's recommended they test every day for five days and also stay home for five days if they subsequently test positive.

For more advice visit Unite Against COVID-19.

Most people who get COVID-19 recover from the most serious signs and symptoms within two to four weeks. They normally can return to all activities they were doing before COVID-19 within 12 weeks.

However, some people report a range of symptoms beyond the standard time of recovery, which may mean they have long COVID.

Symptoms of long COVID can last for weeks or sometimes months. They can include:

  • fatigue
  • breathlessness
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • chest tightness
  • chest pain
  • difficulty concentrating, cognitive impairment or 'brain fog'
  • difficulty sleeping
  • pins and needles
  • dizziness
  • joint pain
  • muscle pain

For support with the management and treatment of long COVID, seek help from your doctor or healthcare team. 

Learn more about long COVID

Some people are more at risk of becoming very unwell if they catch COVID-19. You may be more vulnerable if you:

  • have a high risk medical condition and/or compromised immunity. 
  • are over 65 years old, particularly if you have a medical condition
  • live in an aged care facility
  • are pregnant
  • have a disability
  • live with mental health conditions and addictions
  • are of Māori or Pacific ethnicity

There are medicines available for people who are most at risk of severe illness with COVID-19. You need to start these within the first five days of developing COVID-19 symptoms.

If you test positive for COVID-19 using a Rapid Antigen Test it’s important you report your result. This will ensure you can get help if you need it. It is especially important people at greater risk of becoming very unwell do this. You can report your result:

There are steps we can all take to protect ourselves, our whānau, and our communities against COVID-19.

Keeping up healthy habits will reduce the risk of you spreading the virus or catching it. These include:

  1. Getting vaccinated and staying up to date with any booster doses you may need.
  2. Wearing a mask when in healthcare settings (this is recommended but not mandated). Masks also provide great protection if you’re in poorly ventilated indoor areas.
  3. Staying home if you’re unwell and taking a test as soon as possible. You should also wear a mask when around others if you need to leave your home while you’re unwell.
  4. Washing or sanitising your hands regularly and drying them properly.
  5. Coughing into your elbow and sneezing into a tissue.

Ventilating indoor spaces also significantly reduces the risk of the virus spreading.

Visit Unite Against COVID-19 to learn more about the healthy habits that can keep you and others safe.

Guidance and advice

If there is a COVID-19 outbreak at your workplace or organisation you may need to take action to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.


Health facilities

Health facilities, including aged residential care facilities, should seek guidance from their Primary Health Organisation, contract manager (if funded via a Te Whatu Ora District health contract) and / or occupational health.


How we can help

Auckland Regional Public Health Service can provide public health advice on COVID-19 outbreaks for workplaces and organisations that have responsibility for more vulnerable people. Contact us if you are one of the following and require support:

  • disability service, including residential homes
  • other large institutions
  • education institutions, including kura kaupapa, kōhanga reo and pasifika language nests

There is a range of support available for individuals with COVID-19: 

If you need medical advice contact your doctor, or ring Healthline for free anytime on 0800 358 5453.

For more advice, or to see what financial support options may be available, visit Unite Against COVID-19.


Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) can confirm that five people associated with the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship church have been diagnosed with COVID-19.


Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) has identified further bus journeys taken separately by two people with COVID-19, and is alerting a number of close contacts from HOP card details.


An Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) investigation has found that two people later diagnosed with COVID-19 travelled on the same Auckland bus on Wednesday 12 August.


Auckland Regional Public Health Service can confirm that a person later diagnosed as having COVID-19 had earlier visited two Countdown supermarkets.


Learn about what COVID-19 contact tracing involves at Auckland Regional Public Health Service

(Note for media: Contact tracing footage available on request: arphsmedia@adhb. govt. nz)


Last updated 30.10.2023

For health advice call Healthline for free anytime on 0800 611 116
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