Why did millions of Americans miss their second COVID-19 shot?
According to a recent report in New York Times , the reasons for not receiving the second dose range from fear of potential side effects from inoculation, to the belief that a single dose is sufficient protection against coronavirus, to logistical barriers beyond the control of the individual, such as canceled appointments and pharmacies that do not maintain doses of the right brand of vaccine.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), quoted in the NYT report, and other media outlets are making headlines that emphasize that millions of Americans are not returning for their second dose. What some of these articles are less quick to acknowledge, however, is that while 8% of Americans do not return for their second dose ̵
Dr. Angela Rasmussen is a virologist at the Organization for Vaccines and Infectious Diseases (VIDO). “I thought so [CDC data] it was quite encouraging. “While 8% are still millions of people, that still means most people are coming back for their second shot, which is really good compared to many other vaccines,” she told DW.
Rasmussen recently experienced the double-dose dilemma herself. She had an appointment to shoot BioNTech-Pfizer in Washington state, but had to move to Canada to start a new job before she could receive her second dose within the recommended time frame. Instead of receiving the first picture of BioNTech-Pfizer, she received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a single inoculation. The experience left her sympathetic to those 8% who missed the second dose.
“If it’s so hard for me to figure out how to do a second shot and I’m a virologist, I guess it can be very difficult for people who don’t have access to transportation, or for people who may not be so sensible on the Internet,” he said. she.
Why do people miss the second dose?
Experts believe that there are many reasons for people to miss their second dose. “There are people who may have read speculation that one shot is good enough,” Rasmussen said, which could put them to sleep in a false sense of security. Another reason that may discourage people from seeking their second dose is post-vaccination symptoms.
“Some people may have had unpleasant side effects associated with the first shot and have decided for themselves that they do not want to experience this again with the second shot,” she said. Also, a small number of people may have simply forgotten that they need to fire a second shot.
“I think other people have been advised by their healthcare provider not to shoot again, and that’s if they’ve had an allergic reaction or have a bad history of getting booster boosters – these are probably fewer cases, but I think that some people for medical reasons will be advised not to fire the second shot, “Rasmussen said.
Inherent racism can prevent people from getting vaccinated, and some African Americans do not have access
Demographic factors may also play a role. Dr. Lisa Cooper, head of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Justice, said African Americans face specific structural barriers to accessing even the first dose of the vaccine.
“If you’re an adult, you probably don’t have a fancy cell phone or computer, so it’s best to use a regular phone – but some vaccination sites don’t have a call number and the only way to register is to go online,” he said. “Even if you pass, then you will find out that the vaccine site is on the other side of town and you don’t have a car – do you want to get on public transport during COVID? And it will cost you extra money to carry out all these things. “
Economic problems also play a role in vaccine fluctuations. Many American workers say they would like to be vaccinated, but do not always receive the support of their employers. To address this, US President Joe Biden called on employers to provide paid leave for vaccinations and offered tax credits to small and medium-sized businesses to cover the costs.
Is one dose enough?
Experts have repeatedly explained that in order to have long-term and better protection against COVID-19, you need two shots. There is encouraging evidence that, at least in the short term, the first shot offers some protection, but how long that protection lasts is unclear – and it’s not as good as getting the second shot, as Toronto doctor Michael Warner recently pointed out on Twitter. .
Two recent studies by the UK National Statistics Office and the University of Oxford found that people received a strong antibody response after receiving both strokes. One study found a 72% reduction in symptomatic infections after a single dose of BioNTech-Pfizer or AstraZeneca. However, after two doses of BioNTech-Pfizer, there was a 90% reduction in symptomatic infections. Due to the timing of the AstraZeneca vaccine, no data are available for the second dose.
Cohen Powells, author of the study and a researcher at Oxford University’s Department of Public Health in Nafield, said that receiving the second dose of vaccine results in longer protection as well as better protection than COVID-19.
“As with any infectious disease, initially [after the first dose] “You’ll have high protection, and eventually that efficiency will decrease,” Powell said. If you look at the antibody responses, the reduction will be relatively rapid. The second dose is very protective and raises antibody levels much higher, especially in the elderly, “he told DW.” It is very important that you take this second dose. “
Not that the second shot won’t work if you wait longer before you get it; that is, you may not have the protection you think you have during this interval between shots. “What people may be missing is that this second shot is considered really necessary to trigger these long-term immune memory reactions,” Rasmussen said.
Is a single dose of vaccine sufficient for COVID survivors?
A U.S. study conducted by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, involving more than 260 participants, showed that “a single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for people who had previously had COVID-19 generated an immunological response similar to that of people who had receiving both -dose recommended consistency. “
According to the researchers, the data suggest that a second dose may not be needed for those who have recovered from a coronavirus infection. The question is how effective a dose would be.
“Many people have had COVID-19 and the availability of vaccines is still limited in most regions. So single dosing of people with a history of COVID-19 can significantly speed up the number of people protected from immunization and help reach levels of communities that stop the spread of infection, “Jonathan Brown, a professor of medicine at the Uidjaya Research Institute for Inflammatory Bowel and Immunobiology Foundation in Cedars-Sinai and co-author of the study, told DW by email.
Studies by the Penn Institute of Immunology also found that people who recovered from an infection showed a strong response to antibodies after the first mRNA vaccine. In a news release, immunologist and co-author of the findings, E. John Wherry, stated that “these results are encouraging for both short-term and long-term efficacy of the vaccine and contribute to our understanding of the immune response to mRNA vaccine through memory analysis. In the cells. “Memory B cells promote long-term immunity.
In Germany, the Standing Committee on Vaccination (Stiko) recently updated its findings to reflect new data that it recommends for individuals who have had a confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection that led to COVID-19, “one should not consider vaccination earlier than 6 months after recovery. Due to the existing immunity after infection, a very good immune response is obtained due to a single booster by vaccination. All licensed COVID-19 vaccines can be used to vaccinate convalescents. “