Health leaders stress it’s not too late to reschedule if you missed your 2nd vaccine appointment

Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 11:19 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Vaccine supply is meeting or exceeding demand in many Ohio counties, but in some cases, there are doses reserved for someone’s second shot who doesn’t show up.

Gov. Mike DeWine this week said it was reported to him that after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause, more people started to skip their second appointment to get the Pfizer or Moderna shots.

“That that hurt the whole total confidence that people have in vaccines in general,” he said.

The state’s chief medical officer, Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, insists it’s not too late for anyone to get their second dose of the vaccine if they passed on their second appointment.

“The dose that gives you the long-lasting immunity,” Vanderhoff said. “The ideal interval that we look for is the recommended interval of three or four weeks, depending on which vaccine...But if you go longer than that, it doesn’t mean you’ve lost the opportunity to get that benefit and to get in there and get that booster. I highly recommend that if you’ve missed that second dose, you get in, get that second dose. You still have the opportunity to have that important booster effect.”

WOIO in Cleveland reports only 60% of people are returning for their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Cleveland Clinic. Gov. DeWine said the state average isn’t that low.

The time between shots for Pfizer’s vaccine is three weeks, while Moderna’s is four weeks.

The CDC says the second dose may be given up to six weeks after the first. There’s limited information on how getting the second shot increases your protection against COVID-19 more than six weeks after getting the first dose, according to the CDC. It doesn’t recommend getting the second dose early.

A recent CDC study showed Pfizer and Modernas’ vaccines were 80 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 infection after one dose.

But it’s not known how long the shots are effective after just one dose.

However, after two doses, studies have shown both shots provide protection for at least six months.

Ottawa County Health Commissioner Jerry Bingham said about six percent of people at its clinics haven’t returned for their second shot.

On Monday, the county is hosting a vaccine clinic, by appointment, for people who may have missed their second dose of the Moderna vaccine.

“If for whatever reason they couldn’t get their second dose, perhaps they got their first dose in Florida, or whatever the reason might be, we decided to open that clinic here just to help people out,” Bingham said.

In Wood County, health commissioner Benjamin Robison says about five to ten percent of people haven’t returned for their second dose.

“What we notice is people who miss their second dose appointments are pretty diverse,” Robison said. “There could just be something that came up that kept them away from getting that second shot.”

The health department’s clinics are all open to walk-ins for people who may have missed their second dose.

The consistent message doesn’t throw away your second shot.

“All of the benefits of being fully vaccinated come after that second dose,” Robison.

Thursday’s data from the Ohio Department of Health show 38 percent of Ohio’s population has received at least one dose. Around 28 percent are fully vaccinated, which includes 68% of people 65 and older.

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