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How important is the second dose of vaccine?

Ensuring people followed through by getting fully vaccinated was a potential concern for public health officials when the 2-dose variety of COVID-19 vaccines were being developed.

Of the 58% of adults in the US with at least one dose of the 2-dose Moderna and Pfizer vaccines about 8% have failed to show up for their second shot. In Ocean County, data reveals that as of May, 12, 2021, more than 431,400 doses have been administered and close to 200,000 people have been fully vaccinated.

While a three or four week gap between shots is ideal, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises you can get your second shot within 42 days of the first one and stillmount a full immune response. However, beyond that the data is just limited.

“The Ocean County Health Department certainly understands that people have so many important things going on in their lives that may be keeping them from getting the second dose – or even having second thoughts, said Ocean County Commissioner Gerry P. Little, liaison to the Ocean County Health Department. “But the bottom line is in order to receive the best potential protection is to follow through and keep from skipping the second dose.

The OCHD is reminding people that are overdue or getting close – to schedule that second dose appointment right away so they can complete the 2-dose inoculation series,” added Director of the Ocean County Board of Commissioners Gary Quinn.“More than 90% of appointments at our clinics are for the second dose which is a very positive sign. There is plenty of vaccine and appointments available at the OCHD clinics so booking a second dose – or first dose should be easy.

That doesn’t mean the second dose will be ineffective if it’s administered more than six weeks after the first. It only means that research has not specifically measured how much protection the two-dose vaccines offer when the shots are given more than 42 days apart. Still, the CDC says you don’t have to start over if you can’t get a second vaccine within 42 days.

However, it may be tempting to just stick with the one dose you’ve got—after all, one study showed that a single dose of the vaccine was about 80% effective at preventing COVID-19 infections, compared to 90% protection after two.  

Dan Regenye, OCHD Public Health Coordinator/Health Officer reiterated that skipping a second dose will not be as effective in preventing the spread and providing the complete protection needed against the virus that has infected more than 64,800 people in Ocean County and 880,630 statewide as of May 11, 2021.The first dose primes your immune system. The second dose cements the protection. And just make certain you get a second dose of the same vaccine. No mixing and matching,” he said.

OCHD officials hear the number of reasons people have yet to get the second shot. Other than urgent priorities that force someone to cancel or miss an appointment, some additional reasons include; fears of side effects, an inability to take time offof work, personal distractions or incorrectly believing that a single dose is all that is needed to be protected.

A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are 64% effective at preventing hospitalizations in the elderly after the first dose. But they are 94% effective after two doses.

The second vaccine dose is also essential in preventing the creation and spread of new COVID-19 variants a mutation of the original virus. While new variants have not yet been identified as deadlier than the original coronavirus strain, according to the CDC, they can be more contagious. This can lead to more cases, more hospitalizations and, potentially, more deaths.

The CDC considers people fully vaccinated:

2 weeks after their second shot in a 2-dose series, like the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
2 weeks after a single-shot vaccine, like Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.

You are not fully vaccinated if:

it has been less than 2 weeks since your 1-dose shot
it has been less than 2 weeks since your second shot of a 2-dose vaccine
you still need to get your second dose of a 2-dose vaccine

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There are 15 Comments to "How important is the second dose of vaccine?"

  • Loops says:

    Numerous studies out there are showing that for those who already had covid, the first vaccine gives you pretty much the same level as immunity as the second does for those who never had covid.
    The added boost from the second vaccine (for those who already had it) is so negligible as to be literally a waste of time.
    I cannot post the links but you can google it.
    NYU/ Langone
    Cedars Sinai in LA
    And a large study done in Israel.

  • TRUTH says:

    It is a terrible thing that the frum media including newspapers, magazines are not letting frum people write in true facts about the serious concerns about these vaccines. To name one such fact, the Lancet (prestigious medical journal) just came out with a study that proves that the vaccines increases miscarriages and stillbirth in pregnant woman. There are so many people that died from these vaccines already and the long term is unknown. The fact that all the stories happening in our own community and beyond is being hidden deliberately from our fellow brethren by the FRUM media is a crime. I know COVID is a serious illness, but people have a right to hear the accurate information about the vaccine and make an educated risk/benfefit analysis if it makes sense for them. Many Rabbanim are saying to wait until there is more data, but you wouldn’t know that from the way the frum media is pushing the vaccine. One day they will have to give din v’cheshbon on the blood they shed! TLS once put up a video from Dr. Zelenko with an honest opinon warning about the vaccine and I applaud them for that one time event. Hopefully more in the future!

    • S209 says:

      @TRUTH, Where is the supposed Lancet study you are referring to? And when you say so many people died from the vaccines, can you quote a source? No, the VAERS does not count as a source that people died from the vaccine. Correlation does not equal causation. 267 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in the U.S.

  • Marc says:

    Hey, SHEKER,
    Where in Lancet have you seen this “study” published?
    Even today, Lancet posted advice to physicians as to how to overcome vaccine hesitancy due to people’s ignorance.
    You must have seen that last word, and remained stuck there.

  • to Marc from TRUTH says:

    My apologies. You are right. I went back to check and it was the New England Journal of Medicine.

  • hesitancy says:

    Has anyone questioned why “vaccine hesitancy” has now been considered a big cheit? Why is there something wrong with people questioning a new, experimental, not-FDA approved product with they are injecting into their body, which can not be undone once it’s given? Why is it condemned to be an educated, cautious, thinking human being who wants to make sure a product is truly as “safe” and “effective” that they claim it to be when theyr’e suspicioulsy promising you the moon if you take it. Wouldn’t we WANT to take it if it was truly all that it is touted to be?

    • S says:

      There’s no problem with studying the matter in depth and analyzing the various factors that go into that decision.
      But, have you done that? Or, are you just tossing out these questions as a reason to not vaccinate – while ignoring the negative effects that can have?

      The overwhelming majority of the medical establishment and local doctors advise all to get this vaccine, and there’s good reason to believe that they’re more knowledgeable in this matter than you are.

      • hesitancy says:

        Yes. I research it constantly, however most doctors do not have the time to do the research I am doing. My own doctor told me she took the vaccine because she “trusts” the medical establishment.

  • Marc says:

    “TRUTH”less,
    Wrong again!
    The New England Journal of Medicine published no such study.
    They decided to print an open letter sent to them, which quotes a small and unverified study by a third party.
    Retaining its objectivity and total impartiality, the prestigious peer reviewed journal chose to post the said letter, although the scientific review board disagrees with its contents AND with the study itself, due to its faulty methodology.
    Next try, please!
    I fo believe that you have had your uneducated mind preset on your conclusions, and will dig up any sort of misinformation, to prove your invalid point, going so far as to write absolutely idiotic numbers of great multitudes who have been hurt or killed by the vaccine.

    • me says:

      According to your thinking bullets dont either kill people. Its just a correlation.

      Bullet goes into body, person dead a few hours later. Died of bullet wound. vaccine goes into body, person dead a few hours later. Died of unknown causes, but still normal.

      Guess what? I dont care if the scientists hevent yet figured out how the deaths occurred, I dont need to risk a “correlation” for a sickness that has such a low mortality rate for young people.

      • S says:

        That’s ridiculous. Statistically, a certain percentage of people, more so elderly individuals, die every week.
        To count a death that happened in the weeks following a vaccine as a vaccine induced death is blatant ignorance.

        • to S says:

          To quote you: “Have you studied the matter in depth”? Many of the people who died were not old at all, they were even in their 20s and 30s, many were perfectly healthy. A 12 year old girl named Maddie was paralyzed after the vaccine trial she was in. Other children also died.. We many not have enough data to be sure exactly why all these deaths are happening, but there’s certainly enough data for serious concern and to WAIT for more data.

    • TRUTH says:

      Actually, I didnt need the study to prove this information to me. There were reports all over socail media (for as long as they werent censored) and I heard stories from frum people. The study I am referring to was printed on April 21, 2021. If you read the study, they of course say “no concern right now and more data needed to really determine outcomes ” (paraphrased) but if you read the data, you will see some terrifying statics. It shows that shot increases the miscarriage rate 24 fold. (13.9% for vaccinated woman vs. the national miscarriage rate of 0.59%)

  • In the know says:

    All u antivaxxers are the ones who cause all the outbreaks an innocent people have to deal with the outcomes.
    Interesting though that u all run to the doctors offices and beg to be treated when your kids an families get sick from your negligence
    Wake up and stop spreading g all these viruses. HaShem is not smiling at you. That’s why all these tragedies are occurring because klal Yisroel is supposed to care about each other and do the right thing

    • stop calling names says:

      It might be easy to just dismiss everyone as an anti-vaxxer if they dont share your opinion but everyone in my family is fully vaccinated and I fully agree with @TRUTH and @me. IF you think for a minute, you will realize there is something very wrong with the whole picture here. Previous medications, vaccines, etc. were stopped with far less concerning incidences, yet here the internet is being scrubbed from any slightly negative report, and the media is hiding information as well, and they are still giving them to milllions of people without any concern about long term repercussions.