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Millions skipping second doses of COVID-19 vaccines, NYT article shows

Published: Apr. 28, 2021 at 7:23 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - As vaccine supply slowly but surely outnumbers demand, America is beginning to face another problem in its fight against COVID-19.

According to The New York Times, 8-10 percent of people - roughly 5 million - who have received their first dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine did not show up to receive their second dose.

UofL Health Associate Chief Medical Officer Dr. Hugh Schoff called the statistic ‘concerning,’ but said it’s not something that’s happened often in his experience.

“Me, personally, no I have not seen a lot of no-shows for second appointments,” Schoff said. “We usually see those people coming back.”

Schoff said it’s hard to quantify exactly how many people have not shown up to receive their second doses, but said the healthcare system has done a good job of allocating the doses that go unused at one vaccine site to another.

“We’ve done very well with not wasting doses,” Schoff said. “We try to adjust, we move them around to all of our sites, just so we can get as many people vaccinated as possible. And if we have leftovers for second doses, we’re giving them to people as first doses.”

Metro Health environmentalist Erica O’Brien said a no-show rate of 8-10 percent is consistent with what the LouVax site at Broadbent Arena has seen.

That said, O’Brien does not believe the no-show rate means people are completely skipping their second doses.

“[The vaccine] is becoming a lot more available,” O’Brien said. “So some people also are getting it elsewhere, rather than coming back here, just because there are maybe more convenient options closer to home.”

Schoff said only receiving one dose cuts the efficacy of the vaccines buy roughly 30-40 percent. He also said he understands the concerns over potential side effects, but still asserts getting side effects is still better than getting COVID-19.

“It just means that we’re not having as many people out there that are as highly protected, trying to get to that herd immunity, trying to get to that ability for everybody to get out and mingle with each other with a higher level of protection, right,” schoff said. “So for people that think that it’s just one shot and I don’t have to get it, or I’m worried about side effects, I really want to encourage that getting COVID is a lot worse than getting side effects.”

Schoff also said vaccination sites across Kentucky have seen a decrease in appointments over the past few weeks.

The UofL Health vaccine site at Cardinal Stadium begins administering second doses on Monday. To sign up, click here.

Broadbent Arena’s last day in operation is Thursday. Once Broadbent is closed, the LouVax operation will become fully mobile, moving throughout the city in an attempt to vaccinate those who do not have access to mass vaccination sites.

For questions about LouVax, call (502) 912-8598.

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