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By Maia Anderson for Becker’s Hospital Review
Almost 15 million people have missed their second COVID-19 vaccine dose, according to CDC data cited by The Washington Post.
That number means nearly 11 percent of people who had sufficient time to get their second dose missed the ideal window, the Post reported July 2. That is an increase from 8 percent earlier in the year, which a CDC spokesperson told the Post was “not unexpected.”
The CDC considers a second dose to be missed if more than 42 days passed since the first dose. However, the CDC said individuals who don’t get the second shot in that time frame don’t have to start over to be fully vaccinated; there’s just less data on the effectiveness of a second dose received more than 42 days after the first, the Post reported.
Health officials have said people skip their second doses for various reasons, such as thinking they only need one to be protected and to avoid the side effects that can come with the second dose. Some simply miss their appointments and either can’t or don’t reschedule, the Post reported.
But health experts say getting both doses of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine will be critical to combat the delta variant. A U.K. study published in May found that Pfizer’s vaccine was just 33 percent effective against the delta variant in preventing symptomatic disease after a single dose and 88 percent effective after two doses, the Post reported.