A number of U.S. states recently warned that they were running out of people willing to take a Covid vaccine. New reports suggest that a fairly significant proportion of Americans who have received their first dose of a vaccine are unwilling – or believe there is no need – to take a second. Reasons include a fear of the side effects and the belief that one dose offers enough protection against Covid. The New York Times has the story.
Millions of Americans are not getting the second doses of their Covid vaccines, and their ranks are growing.
More than five million people, or nearly 8% of those who got a first shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, have missed their second doses, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is more than double the rate among people who got inoculated in the first several weeks of the nationwide vaccine campaign.
Even as the country wrestles with the problem of millions of people who are wary about getting vaccinated at all, local health authorities are confronting an emerging challenge of ensuring that those who do get inoculated are doing so fully.
The reasons vary for why people are missing their second shots. In interviews, some said they feared the side effects, which can include flu-like symptoms. Others said they felt that they were sufficiently protected with a single shot.
Those attitudes were expected, but another hurdle has been surprisingly prevalent. A number of vaccine providers have cancelled second-dose appointments because they ran out of supply or didn’t have the right brand in stock.
Walgreens, one of the biggest vaccine providers, sent some people who got a first shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine to get their second doses at pharmacies that only had the other vaccine on hand.
Several Walgreens customers said in interviews that they scrambled, in some cases with help from pharmacy staff, to find somewhere to get the correct second dose. Others, presumably, simply gave up.
Many states anticipated that vaccine hesitancy rates would increase as the rollout progressed and are now implementing a number of schemes to try to ensure that uptake remains high.
In Arkansas and Illinois, health officials have directed teams to call, text or send letters to people to remind them to get their second shots. In Pennsylvania, officials are trying to ensure that college students can get their second shots after they leave campus for the summer. South Carolina has allocated several thousand doses specifically for people who are overdue for their second shot.
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