HealthDay News — More than 5 million Americans have missed the second dose of their COVID-19 vaccine, new government data show.
The trend seems to be growing. According to the latest data, the number of vaccine recipients who missed their second dose now stands at nearly 8 percent, more than double the rate seen among people who got inoculated during the first several weeks of the national vaccine campaign, The New York Times reported. Already, millions of people are wary about getting vaccinated at all, and now local health authorities are struggling to make sure that those who get their first shot also get their second.
Why the missed second shots? Some said they feared the side effects, which can include flu-like symptoms, while others said they felt they were sufficiently protected with a single shot. But a surprising hurdle has also surfaced: A number of vaccine providers have canceled second-dose appointments because they ran out of supply or did not have the right brand in stock, The Times reported. Walgreens, one of the biggest vaccine providers in the United States, 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, the newspaper said. Several Walgreens customers said they scrambled to get the correct second dose, but others likely gave up, the newspaper added.
Public health officials had worried from the start that it would be hard to get everyone to come back for their second shot, and now some state officials are scrambling to keep the tally of partly vaccinated people from swelling. 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, The Times reported. South Carolina has allocated several thousand doses specifically for people who are overdue for their second shot.