Tri-State hospitals warn against skipping 2nd COVID vaccine dose

Coronavirus Watch

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – As thousands more Tri-Staters get vaccinated against COVID-19, with many getting those made by Moderna or Pfizer, local and federal officials say not everyone is getting two doses.

The CDC reports 92% of those getting vaccinated only get one of two doses.

Even though a vast majority of those getting the mRNA vaccines get both of the required doses, there are still some who only get one dose for various reasons. That could have implications in relations to variants and the race to reach herd immunity.

Most Tri-Staters and Americans who get the two-dose vaccine get both doses.

“Most people that I know of have decided to get the second shot are going through with the second shot. I haven’t heard of anyone getting the first and dropping off on the second one,” says Linn Tipmore of Daviess County, Ky. But there are still a few only getting one of two.

“We have about a 5-10% no-show rate,” says Brian Spencer, Pharmacy Line Service Manager at Deaconess Health.

“They feel they received the first dose, and maybe they’re adequately protected, which is really not,” adds Dr. Heidi Dunniway, Chief Regional Medical Officer at Ascension St. Vincent.

Doctors say the reasons some opt for only one of two doses range from fear of needles or vaccine side effects, to change in where they get the second dose, to even thinking they’re protected after one dose. Spencer says there’s not enough data showing length of protection after only one of two doses.

“We don’t know how that’s going to affect someone that does not have the two-dose series, whether the vaccine is going to be effective or not, because they are not studying it,” he says.

Dr. Dunniway says skipping the second dose may not leave as much protection against COVID variants.

“That first step is there is partial protection. But again, you really can’t count on it. I think it’s, you know, it’s very important for everyone to understand that the two doses are really critical to be as protected as possible,” she says.

Medical officials say Indiana’s online vaccination tracking system, which tracks where and when people get their vaccines, is not a factor in the reported level of those not getting both doses.

(This story was originally published on April 26, 2021)

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