Millions of Americans are not getting the second doses of their Covid-19 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. The CDC’s count of missed second doses is through April 9.
The reasons vary for why people are missing their second shots. In interviews, some said they feared the side effects, which can include flulike symptoms. Others said they felt that they were sufficiently protected with a single shot. 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.
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 for people who are overdue for their second shot.
Mounting evidence collected in trials and from realworld immunisation campaigns show that compared with the two-dose regimen, a single shot triggers a weaker immune response and may leave recipients more susceptible to virus variants.
Cases remain high in US
Vaccination rates are falling in the US, despite the spread of highly contagious virus variants. More than 50,000 new US cases were reported on Saturday, and case rates are similar to those of the second wave last summer. But the average number of vaccine doses being administered each day, which rose for months and peaked at 3.4 million, has now fallen to 2.9 million, its lowest level since March 31, according to data from the CDC. The vaccination rate stopped climbing on April 13, when health officials recommended pausing the use of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine to allow researchers to examine a rare blood-clotting disorder that emerged in six recipients. The FDA lifted the pause on Friday.