Coronavirus: What Happens If You Skip a Second COVID-19 Vaccine Dose?

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Coronavirus: What Happens If You Skip a Second COVID-19 Vaccine Dose?
Coronavirus: What Happens If You Skip a Second COVID-19 Vaccine Dose?

Millions of Americans are not getting the second doses of their Covid-19 vaccines, and their ranks are growing. More than five million people, or nearly 8 per cent of those who got a first shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, have missed their second doses, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is more than double the rate among people who got inoculated in the first several weeks of the nationwide vaccine campaign.

Even as the United States wrestles with the problem of millions of people who are wary about getting vaccinated at all, health authorities are confronting an emerging challenge of ensuring that those who do get inoculated are doing so fully. The reasons vary for why people are missing their second shots. In interviews, some said they feared the side effects, which can include flulike symptoms. Others said they felt that they were sufficiently protected with a single shot.

Why is a second booster dose important?

In order for your Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccine to be as effective as it can be, you’ll need to sit for both doses. Research published in the BMJ indicates that Pfizer’s vaccine is only 52% effective at preventing the spread of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that leads to a COVID-19 diagnosis) after one dose, whereas Moderna’s vaccine could be over 80% effective in the span of the first two weeks, per BBC reports and the World Health Organization. Both vaccines are well over 90% effective at preventing life-threatening cases of COVID-19 after a brief period following two full doses, according to the CDC.

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