Why People Are Skipping Their Second Dose Of Vaccine In Alarming Numbers

We have reached 29 percent full vaccination status against COVID-19 among American adults according to NPR. While this is great news, with 232 million doses having been administered, there is a trend happening with the shots that should be of great concern to all.

According to The New York Times, millions of people are skipping their second dose of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine. As most of us know, both vaccines require two shots, with the second one being given a month after the first in the case of the Moderna vaccine, according to the FDA. In the case of the Pfizer shots, the second dose is given 21 days after the first, per the CDC. Of course, at this point, the only one-shot COVID-19 vaccine is the Johnson & Johnson offering, and that too has been problematic — albeit for other reasons.

The New York Times notes that the amount of people who are not getting their second dose in the series of COVID-19 vaccinations amounts to 8 percent of those who receive the first shot, or 5 million people. 

But why?

The reasons people are skipping their second COVID-19 vaccines

The New York Times reports that there are multiple reasons people do not get their second shots, ranging from fear of the side effects, to feeling that one shot will be enough to protect them against the novel coronavirus.

It's worth noting that according to the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, one shot in the Pfizer series offers up to 85 percent protection against the virus. But the second shot boosted that number to up to 97 percent. This is fairly consistent with what is offered by the Moderna series, with infections falling up to 80 percent after shot one, and up to 90 percent after shot two when researchers looked at both sereis, according to Reuters.

So why does it matter if people are skipping their second shots? Well firstly, to be fair, the COVID-19 vaccine has an impressive 92 percent follow-through rate according to New York Magazine. Consider that when it comes to the two-dose shingles vaccine, only 75 percent of adults get the second shot.

But skipping the second dose induces a weaker immune response according to The New York Times, and may mean people are more susceptible to getting sick, especially from coronavirus variants.

Meanwhile, some providers are not ordering as much vaccine as a result of low numbers of turnout, leaving some without shots at their scheduled appointments — another troubling side effect of the trend of skipping the second dose.