Medical leaders say second dose of vaccine key to immunity

Medical leaders say second dose of vaccine key to immunity

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - As millions of people wait to get the coveted COVID-19 vaccination appointments, you may be surprised to know thousands of people across the country who were lucky enough to get the first dose are not showing up for the second one.

That’s frustrating to health officials because there’s so much science behind the vaccines that require two doses. So many people want a spot in the vaccine line, but according to NBC News, in Florida alone, more than 40,000 people who got that chance with the first dose are now overdue for their second.

“The way the drug was approved was to have two doses for full immune response,” said Dr. Joseph Flynn, the Chief Administrative Officer for Norton Medical Group.

Thursday, Metro Health’s Dr. Sarah Moyer said that in Jefferson County, roughly 10 percent of people are not showing up for even the first appointment.

“I just think that it’s really important, if you are one of the lucky and privileged ones getting a spot that you keep that,” she said.

Flynn said that’s also true of those getting the second dose. He said skipping the second shot hasn’t become a problem locally for the time being because they’ve been meticulous about scheduling. He said if you only get the first dose, there’s no way of knowing how much immunity you actually have, or how long it will last, which could put you at risk.

Both Pfizer and Moderna require two doses. Flynn said the first dose is a primer.

“It fires up your immune system and starts recognizing, looking for those abnormal proteins or abnormal cells of the virus,” he said. “If you get the booster, now you’re completing that full circle of immunity to strengthen your immune response.”

Second-dose symptoms reportedly may have scared some seniors from going back,

“Most people, if not all, have very mild to moderate-at-most symptoms,” Flynn said. “We are talking about some fevers, chills and achiness.”

Flynn said that while he understands everyone fears the unknown, especially when it’s something new, the vaccines are extremely safe. As for those waiting for the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine, it’s still in clinical trials and because it can be stored in a normal refrigerator, it may go first to areas of the country that don’t have extreme cold storage.

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