PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Millions of Americans are saying "No, thanks," to the second dose of their COVID-19 vaccine, missing their appointment intentionally.
A new report CDC report shows it’s a big problem across the country. Doctors say the repercussions will hurt all of us and hope those skipping their next shot reconsider. They say the best part of these mRNA vaccines is their high efficacy rates, but you won't get the full protection unless you get both shots.
Right now, 35% of people in Arizona are fully vaccinated compared to 50% nationwide.
Some people had such bad health reactions to the first dose, they aren't getting the second. But if more and more people decide not to get their second shot, it could be a problem later this year.
This patient asked we not use her name or show her face, but said she had every intention of being fully vaccinated by now. She got her first Pfizer shot on January 26. “About 40 minutes after the vaccine my face started going numb,” she said. “The symptoms were so severe that I had to have the paramedics come to my house.”
Because of her reaction, she never got the second Pfizer dose, and her plan with her physician was to start over with different technology: the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. But, she's in the risk group with that due to blood clots. “It was disappointing, not getting the second vaccine and now having to wait,” she said.
According to the CDC’s new report, about 8% of Americans missed their second shot. That's more than 5 million Americans, and those numbers are up from the month before when just 3.4% of adults did not get their second shot.
Family medicine doctor Andrew Carroll said unless there is some sort of severe or life-threatening reaction to the first dose, it's very important to get the second shot because of how immunity works. “We know that immunity declines over time, and if you start out at 95-100% protected, maybe over a years time you’ll be down to 50-60% and that’s where were talking about a booster this winter. If you only got one shot and you’re only 60% protected, around the same time you may be down to 0-10% protected which means you’re susceptible to the disease,” Dr. Carroll said.
That's what the patient Arizona’s Family spoke to is worried about, and with asthma she doesn't want to take the chance of getting COVID.
Even with risks, she plans to move forward with getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine too. “It does make me nervous, having two manufacturer's vaccines in my body, because I don’t know how many people have had to do that or will be doing it, but I’m willing to take that risk at this point,” she said.
Arizona’s Family asked both the Arizona Dept. of Health and Maricopa County if they had specific numbers of how many Arizonans have missed their second shots. A spokesperson for ADHS provided the following statement:
About 6% of those who received first doses at state PODs appear to have not returned for a second dose at state PODs within six weeks, the CDC-recommended max interval between doses.