The importance of getting your second COVID-19 shot
The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines require two shots before reaching their full potential of protection. But what happens if you skip your second dose? Infectious disease expert Edwin Hayes, MD, explained how missing your second shot affects your protection against the COVID-19 virus as well as herd immunity.
“There is a concerning trend we are seeing with individuals not getting their second shot of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, which ultimately means their vaccination is incomplete,” said Dr. Hayes
What are possible reasons for this second shot hesitancy?
Dr. Hayes shared these reasons why people might be skipping the second shot.
- Vaccine hesitancy. Overall hesitancy when it comes to vaccines is at play with both the first and second shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. Some individuals aren’t familiar with how the shots work and are worried whether getting the vaccine is the right choice.
- Physical barriers. For some individuals, transportation, knowing where to go to receive the shot or how to sign up can cause hesitation in taking action to get vaccinated.
- Worry over side effects. It is common for your body to have an immune response to the vaccine, but most only see mild to moderate side effects that they tolerate well and only deal with for 48 hours at the most.
Why is it important to get the second shot?
“Vaccine hesitancy will undermine herd immunity significantly. The less people who get vaccinated, the less likely we will be able to return to normal,” said Dr. Hayes. Virus mutations will also continue to develop. Every time the virus infects an individual it has the opportunity to learn how to make more people sick.
Vaccinations teach the immune system how to fight off an invader, such as the COVID-19 virus. It isn’t until after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine that full efficacy is reached. “Receiving both shots are an integral part in being protected from the virus. A single shot of Pfizer or Moderna is not a complete vaccination,” said Dr. Hayes.
If you still need to get your second dose, Dr. Hayes said it’s not too late to get one. And let others know you’ve chosen to be vaccinated. “The more people see others getting vaccinated, the less hesitancy you will see. We need to finish strong and beat this virus. The only way to do this is together,” said Dr. Hayes.
Have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine?
Find answers to frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, including how to get the shot.