Jan. 20, 2021 — More than 1 million people in Florida have received a COVID-19 vaccine, but 44,500 are overdue for their second dose, according to the Florida Department of Health.
The recommended timeframe to receive a second dose is 21 days for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 28 days for the Moderna vaccine. Those who don’t receive a second dose aren’t considered fully immunized against the coronavirus.
Health care workers expected to see some issues around second doses, according to CBS 12 News in West Palm Beach. Some vaccine recipients are concerned about experiencing more serious side effects after the second dose and are afraid to get it. However, doctors and nurses are urging patients to get their second shot to make sure they’ve reached the 95% efficacy level for the two-shot regimen, even if they’re late.
“I am a great example, I got my second dose today,” Kitonga Kiminyo, MD, an infectious disease specialist at T. Leroy Jefferson Medical Society, told the news station. “Trust me, nothing worse is going to happen after you get the second shot.”
Local health departments are also trying to stay on top of scheduling and vaccine supplies to ensure that people take their second dose on time. So far, more than 100,000 Floridians have taken both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, and about 920,000 are on track to receive their second dose, the Florida Department of Health reported.
“Without knowing the ‘why’ here, it is challenging to know whether it should be concerning,” Jason Salemi, an epidemiology professor at the University of South Florida, told the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
“Right now, I’m not concerned,” he said. “But if that number continues to grow … or the reasons for missing the second dose are concerning (such as no doses available, people unable to make it to their appointments in a timely manner), then I’d be brainstorming effective solutions.”