Answering your questions about securing your second COVID-19 vaccine dose

Reporter: Veronica Marshall Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:

Many of you are concerned about delays in vaccine production or scheduling problems affecting your ability to get your second COVID-19 vaccine dose. But, one doctor is saying that if that happens, you shouldn’t worry.

That expert told WINK News that adding a little extra time between your doses could be a good thing.

Wayne Anderson and his wife got in line early on December 29 to take steps towards their safety.

“Got to a site at the library in Lehigh Acres about a quarter to six in the morning, and by noon, we actually had our injections,” said Anderson.

To get full protection, they were told that their booster shots would be adminstered about 28 days later. But, Anderson says that probably won’t happen on time.

Given the delays in getting vaccines out across the country and across the state of Florida. Wayne Anderson isn’t the only person worried that it may take more than 28 days to get his second dose.

Some doctors believe that could be a good thing.

Dr. Marc Lipsitch is the Director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at Harvard. “On biological grounds, there’s no reason to believe that a longer interval would make the second dose worse, it might even make it better,” said Dr. Lipsitch.

Lipsitch says the 28-day waiting period in between shots was chosen to speed up the testing process not because it provides better outcomes.

“There’s just no reason to think that the three to four weeks is optimal. It’s optimal for getting people a second dose quickly, but it’s not optimal for getting a good immune response,” Dr. Lipsitch said.

Lipsitch believes that because your immune system needs time to process the first dose and it also needs some time to return to normal before you the booster shot.

“If I don’t get a time slot, or we don’t get a timeslot on the 26th of January, but they say, ‘We can meet you on the 4th of February’ that’s fine. That’s fine,” Anderson said.

But at least, he says, help is on the way. “Help is on the way sooner or later, and the exact date is not as essential as getting the second shot,” said Anderson.

Because these mRNA vaccines are new, there are still some unknowns regarding how long your antibodies will last.

So, you should still aim to get vaccinated within the recommended window if possible.

According to Lee Health, the recommended time is 21 to 32 days for the Moderna vaccine and 14-28 days for the Pfizer vaccine.

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