Due to the winter weather that has ravaged most of the U.S. and caused delays in COVID-19 vaccine delivery, some vaccine providers have been forced to postpone COVID-19 vaccine appointments.
Patients are concerned about when to get the second COVID-19 vaccine dose
This can be troubling for patients who are due to get a second dose of the two-dose COVID-19 vaccine, and scheduled to receive a second vaccination three to four weeks after the first one. But there's good news if you're one of those people. The second dose of the vaccine can be given up to 42 days or six weeks after the initial immunization, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Therefore, if your second dose appointment has been postponed or canceled due to the winter storm, you still have time to get vaccinated entirely. Both vaccines, developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna in the U.S. market, require two doses to achieve roughly 95 percent effectiveness. The second doses were supposed to be given 21 days and 28 days after the first.
The CDC website says the department also advises the second dose be given "as close to the recommended interval as possible," as per CNN. "However, if it is not possible to adhere to the suggested interval and a delay in vaccination is unavoidable," it added.
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It is clear to the CDC that patients will not be receiving the second dose sooner than prescribed. There is also little evidence on the vaccine's efficacy if the second immunization happens beyond the six-week window.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla noted last month the importance of delivering the second dose of his company's vaccine on time. But Bourla doesn't think that "giving the vaccine a week later or two is a very big issue."
Large swathes of the nation have been affected by the winter conditions, and deliveries of vaccines allocated as first and second doses have been met with difficulties. Health authorities claim they understand the need for a timely second dose in areas like Dallas County, Texas.
Some health authorities also suggested that they prioritize rescheduling appointments to go on with the second dosage. This week, the Alabama Department of Public Health news release said officials would "assure the opportunity for people to get their second dose over the next two weeks," an effort that would require "extended clinic hours as staffing availability permits."
Biden urged Americans to get vaccinated
President Joe Biden pleaded with Americans to get vaccinated Friday after visiting a Pfizer manufacturing plant in Michigan, USA Today reported. Biden tried to emphasize his administration's massive effort to speed up the production and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines.
"If there's one message to cut through to everyone in this country it's this: the vaccines are safe," he told Pfizer workers after visiting the facilities just outside Kalamazoo, Michigan. "Take the COVID-19 vaccine, when it's your turn and available. That's how to beat this pandemic."
Citing continuing logistical problems and uncertainties raised by the pandemic, the president tried to balance concerns for whether the world will see a return to normalcy. This week, extreme winter weather gripped most of the U.S. and postponed the delivery of six million doses of vaccine, the White House said Friday.