Concerned about getting the second shot?

BOSTON — Federal and local health officials are reporting a small number of people NOT getting their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna. The state says the number is below one percent but health officials are urging people to get both of their shots.

In a time-lapse captured by Boston 25 at the exit door of the Hynes Vaccination site, you can see people streaming out. Some for their first shot. Some for their.... “second shot,” said Dan Mcgillicuddy.

The state telling us not everyone is coming back for their second shot. As of this week - just over 99 percent have returned for their second shot within 42 days of their first. The says the second shot is recommended at 21 days for Pfizer and 28 days for Moderna, but any time up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose is in accordance with CDC guidance. No one should get the second dose earlier than the recommended interval.

“My mom got the first shot and then she got COVID-19 right before the second shot and she was really sick and that is when I realized you need two shots,” said Mcgillicuddy.

Tufts Medical Center’s Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Shira Doron warns not getting the full regimen puts you at risk.

“You certainly don’t want to get your vaccine and then have its effectiveness wane after a few months,” said Dr. Doron.

“They may be worried about the side effects, they may have had a certain adverse reaction after the first shot and they are worried it is going to come back,” said Dr. Doron.

We asked Dr. Doron if people are also convinced that the 80 percent protection rate from the first is enough.

“80 percent is good, but you certainly don’t want to get your vaccine and then have its effectiveness wane after a month, whereas it looks like the effectiveness of the two doses will last a really long time,” said Dr. Doron.

If you think of it this way, getting two doses of the vaccine is a lot like painting. One coat looks good but to get the full protection you really need two coats.

“It does appear that priming the immune system with one and then bringing back a second one to really drive it home is going to be the most effective way to do it,” Dr. Doron.

CIC Health, the provider running the largest vaccination sites in the state, says their second dose no-shows are a small percentage.

Rodrigo Martinez, of CIC Health, says everyone needs to get both doses.

“It is less about side effects, it’s more hey I can’t because I need to move my appointment on a different day,” said Martinez.

But most people are coming back -- and they seem relieved when they do.

“I prefer to get fully vaccinated as soon as possible,” said one woman getting her first shot Wednesday.

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