COLUMBUS (WCMH) — As rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine continues across Ohio, more people are getting their second shot.
However, what happens if you miss getting that second dose?
Doctors at OhioHealth said if you do miss or have to reschedule that second shot, it’s no reason to panic. Just try and reschedule it as soon as you can.
“If you only get one dose, that really is suboptimal protection, especially when you’re thinking about the variants,” said Dr. Joseph Gastaldo, infectious disease expert with OhioHealth.
The reason why is because the CDC recommends people get their second dose “as close to the recommended interval as possible.” However, they say there is a small grace period.
Meaning, if you miss your second vaccine dose, you can receive it up to six weeks after the first dose, for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
“So what the CDC recommends is, as best as possible, stick to the recommended dosing regimen,” Gastaldo said. “However, if you do get the second dose later, you can get it within a 42-day period. And beyond that, if you’re later, just get your second dose when you can. There’s no recommendation at all to restart the series.”
Doctors said the reason getting that second dose is so important is because, after the first dose, you’re only somewhat protected from COVID-19. Getting the second one greatly increases its effectiveness, especially against new variants of the virus.
Gastaldo said he knows some people have concerns over getting the second dose due to side effects. He explains that’s actually a good sign because your body is responding to the vaccine.
“The most common immune response is actually pain and discomfort at the injection site, followed by muscle pain, followed by headache, fatigue,” he said. “People do have low-grade temperature elevations, and really, when you get these reactions, all you have got to do is really take care of yourself. Don’t skip any meals.”
Medical experts have said after two doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, you should be 95 percent protected from COVID-19.