By Dylan Turkewitz
New York City, New York
Many Americans do not plan on receiving their second shot of their chosen COVID-19 vaccine. According to the New York Times, approximately 8 percent of Americans who received their first dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines have missed their second shots, which is more than 8 million Americans, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported. This number continues to rise with time.
Health officials are advising Amercians to receive both doses of their vaccine to be as protected as possible while protecting others. Dr. Anthony Fauci said, "We're out there trying to combat the degree of vaccine hesitancy that still is out there. And one of the real reasons why people have hesitancy is concern about the safety of the vaccine," ABC News reported.
According to the CDC COVID-19 vaccination tracker, nearly 141 million first doses have been administered in the U.S., but only approximately 96 million of those people have received their second doses. This gap is partly because of the three weeks between the first and second doses.
Millions of U.S. residents do not intend to receive their second doses because of two reasons: many Americans are afraid of the more severe, feverish side effects from the second dose, and many are under the incorrect impression that they are fully protected by the first shot. Additionally, many vaccine suppliers have had to cancel second shot appointments for lack of supply of their vaccine, the New York Times reported.
At one point, Walgreens booked many second vaccine appointments at locations that did not carry the brand of vaccine people had initially received; however, they said this issue was fixed by the end of March.
Dr. Paul Offit, member of the FDA’s advisory panel, said that “[he’s] very worried — because you need that second dose,” the New York Post reported. Medical specialists have declared hazardous effects of only receiving a single shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. The evidence shows that a single shot may cause recipients to be more vulnerable for the virus because of a weaker immune system response.
Although millions of Americans have not received their second shots, nearly 75% of adults in the U.S. have, according to the New York Times.