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Millions Are Missing Their Second Dose of COVID Vaccine

Millions are skipping or late for their shot, putting immunity at risk
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2021 1:34 AM CDT

(Newser) – One is not enough if you’re talking about the Pfizer or Moderna COVID vaccine shots. But millions are skipping their second dose, the New York Times reports. Why? Hard to say for sure, but some people might be choosing to skip it because they feel they have enough protection from a single dose. Some report concerns about side effects, which can feel like a day or two of the flu. Others, however, are missing their second shot because of scheduling difficulties. Some clinics and pharmacies have run out of shots, are only carrying the "wrong" brand for a person's second dose—the vaccines are not interchangeable—or have made mistakes in scheduling, per the Times. College students who get their first shot while away at school face a challenge sourcing a follow-up shot, too.

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Health officials in different states have different plans and priorities. South Carolina is setting doses aside for people who have had trouble finding a second shot, Pennsylvania is encouraging providers to help college students, and workers in Arkansas are calling people who are due for their next dose. The CDC warns that only the Johnson & Johnson vaccine offers robust protection in one dose. Without a second shot three weeks later for Pfizer or four weeks later for Moderna, health experts have no idea how long protection from the novel coronavirus will last, the Washington Post reports. Per the latest data from the CDC, 8% of Americans who got their first dose of Moderna or Pfizer and are eligible for their second dose have not received it, ABC 7 reports. (Read more COVID-19 stories.)

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