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Millions of People Are Not Taking a 2nd Vaccine Dose, What You Should Know

Concerns over keeping vaccination record cards safe have been surfacing, some people simply place it in their wallet, others may laminate or put it in a plastic baggie to keep the record of receiving the first dose of the vaccine safely preserved.

But what about the second dose?

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that from December 14, 2020−February 14, 2021 over 8% of people who received their first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have missed their second dose of the vaccine.

Worries over the side effects and uncertainty around the benefit of the second dose could be the reason why, the New York Times reported this week. 

Other reasons include lack of transportation or the second dose venture becoming a full day event for those who do not live near vaccination sites or have easy access to it. Also as the vaccine rolled out this past winter, suppliers have faced problems with stocking vaccines and have had to cancel second dose appointments.

Health officials say 5 percent of Texans are overdue for their second dose of Pfizer or the Moderna vaccine.

The recommendations for intervals between doses are three weeks (21 days) apart for Pfizer-BioNTech, and four weeks (28 days) apart for Moderna.

Experts are saying not getting the second dose may shorten protection length

In Texas over 500,000 people are overdue for their second shot. Dr. Luis Ostrosky, an infectious diseases specialist with UTHealth and UT Physicians told KHOU this week he is “very, very concerned.” 

“It’s creating a false sense of security. Thinking you’re vaccinated with one dose puts you at higher risk,”  Dr. Ostrosky said.

“It’s best to get your second dose as close to the recommended interval as possible. But, if a delay is unavoidable, missing this window doesn’t mean you’ve missed your only chance of getting your second dose. It also doesn’t mean you need to start your vaccination plan over completely,” Dr. Ashley Drews, medical director of infection prevention and control at Houston Methodist said.

Dr. Drews says it is unknown how effective either vaccine is when it is delayed beyond six weeks, but getting your second dose is still recommended and likely to be beneficial.

Also, Dr. Drews says if you missed your second dose you don’t have to restart the vaccine process, just to go get the second dose as soon as you can.

For those waiting to get their second dose here are some tips to keep in mind from the Texas Department of State Health Service:

  • You do not have to get your second dose from the same location as you got the first dose, however, if you go to get your second dose at a different location make sure it is from the same manufacturer
  • Get your second shot as close to the recommended 3-week or 1-month interval as possible. 
  • Do not get the second dose earlier than the recommended interval. 
  • Missing the suggested interval delays full protection. 
RA Staff
RA Staff
Written by RA News staff.


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