Many Americans are skipping their second COVID-19 shot


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A recent New York Times article says more than 5 million Americans have missed their second doses of Pfizer or Moderna. 

WREG-TV spoke with an infectious disease specialist about the findings, and the expert we talked to said those new findings are unfortunate but not surprising.

 Health experts warn that there are millions of Americans not getting their second shot. 

The article from the New York Times says about 8-percent of people who received a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine skipped their second dose. 

Some people are saying they’re concerned about possible side effects while others maybe just haven’t gotten around to it.

Dr. Steve Threlkeld, an infectious disease specialist with Baptist, compared the numbers to the Shingles vaccine which also has two doses. 

“25 percent of people miss their second shot,” said Threlkeld. “So this at 8 to 10 percent is probably better in some ways, but it is up significantly from the beginning. Our first population of vaccines for coronavirus were elderly, healthcare workers, people in long-term care facilities, so the motivation was high.”

These are the recent stats the City of Memphis released Monday, which shows the number of first and second doses distributed.

Looking at the numbers over the last seven days, a significant, if not usually more people day to day received their second shot over the first inoculation. 

We asked Threlkeld if someone had their first shot, how protected are they?

“Well it varies but partly somewhere between 50 and 80 percent. But the kicker is, we don’t know how long that lasts. That’s based on information that was taken very early on,” Threlkeld said.

Threlkeld added, “Fewer people getting the first shot, more people not following through and getting the second shot, we’re really creating a situation where we’re not going to get to a herd immunity.”

“I just hope that we can turn the message more toward, it’s not just the right thing to do for the community, it’s not just the right thing to do to protect your grandparents,” Threlkeld said. “It’s going to be safer for you and it’s going to allow you to do more things. Facing this virus naked moving forward is still a dangerous thing for those who have not been vaccinated.”

There are many vaccination sites that are open and no appointment is needed. For more information, click here.

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