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Millions are skipping their second doses of COVID-19 vaccines

Posted at 5:16 PM, Apr 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-26 17:45:28-04

(WXYZ) — There’s a new concern regarding COVID-19 vaccines. Millions of Americans have missed their second vaccine shot.

Both Pfizer and Moderna require two doses in order to be fully vaccinated, but roughly 8% have skipped the second dose. That’s a 3.4% rise in numbers since March.

First of all, 8% doesn’t sound like a lot, but that’s over 5 million Americans.

Now, as to why they didn’t get Pfizer or Moderna’s shot number two, well, there is a laundry list of reasons. Some people are hesitant because they’re worried about the side effects. Others have limited access to transportation. Also, some vaccine locations, in the beginning, ran out of supply, while others had to cancel due to winter weather. And of course, we know when demand was high that some people waited in very long lines to get the first shot.

So for some folks who encountered difficulties or hassles the first time, they’re just not too keen to get the second shot. But there are also some folks out there, that are overly confident that a single dose provides enough protection. And they don’t feel the need to get that second shot.

Now, I’ve heard a lot of these reasons and excuses from my patients. And here’s what I tell them – if you’ve missed your second shot, it’s not too late. Now is a perfect time now to schedule it. Especially since demand is not as high as it was a couple of months ago.

Question: Studies point to 80% immunity after Moderna and Pfizer’s first shot, which is pretty high. What’s the concern if people delay or skip the second dose?

It’s being called a “tenuous” 80%. There’s just not enough research that tells us how long protection from the first shot lasts. And the concern is that one shot won’t trigger a lasting robust immune response. And people might end up more susceptible to variants.

Now we know that Canada and Britain are waiting 3 to 4 months between shots. But the CDC is sticking with 3 weeks for Pfizer and 4 weeks for Moderna. The longest they want you to wait is 6 weeks between shots. And that timeline is based on clinical trials.

Data showed an efficacy rate of 94% and 95% for these vaccines, two weeks after the second dose. Now, for anyone who has not got your second dose, and it’s been over six weeks since the first shot, I can assure you that’s it’s never too late to get the second dose. You definitely want to give your body the best immunity possible.

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