Second-dose skippers: Why people are not getting their second COVID-19 vaccine and why ‘you definitely need both doses’

Coronavirus

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – “I have had my first vaccine, but I actually just realized I missed my second vaccine because you asked me and it was supposed to be today,” said Kristin Hardee.

Hardee, a student at East Carolina University, is one of many who have missed their second dose appointments. North Carolina is reporting more than 3 million first doses have been administered. More than 83,000 people have either missed their appointments to get their second shots or never scheduled the follow-up appointments.

Health officials said the side effects from the first dose may be stopping people from getting their second shots.

“I definitely forgot but previously, I had been nervous only because I knew I had to work today and I was scared going in early to get the shot. Was I going to be too sick to work today or not?” Hardee said.

Dr. Rachel Roper with ECU’s Brody School of Medicine said how you react to the vaccine depends on your immune response because everyone’s response is different.

“You can get a fever. Some people have gotten chills. You can feel really tired. I felt tired after my second shot but if you don’t get the second shot you’re not going to be protected,” said Roper.

While the Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines are around 94% effective from hospitalization. They are less effective if you don’t complete the two doses.

“We don’t have data you might be protected for a little while but you’re not going to be fully protected,” Roper said.

Roper urges everyone to follow through with the vaccine to keep themselves and others safe.

“You definitely need both doses don’t stop at one,” she said.

Hardee said she plans to get her second dose. She’s looking to schedule an appointment this week. If you do miss your second dose appointment, health officials recommend you reschedule as soon as you can.

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