Q&A – How long do you have to wait before getting a 2nd COVID vaccination?


Q&A of the Day – How long do you have to wait before getting a 2nd COVID-19 vaccination?

Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods.

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

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Today’s entry: Thanks for shedding light on what’s really going on with Florida’s unused vaccines. What I haven’t heard is how long you have to wait after getting a first dose before you can take a second.

Bottom Line: The answer is – it depends. Today's note is on back of my explanation that almost all of the unadministered vaccine doses in Florida are second doses which can’t be administered yet. Here’s the quick back story in case you’re unaware of how we got here... Unfortunately, the Biden administration provided misleading information Monday regarding Florida’s use of available vaccines. When asked about Governor DeSantis’s requests for additional COVID vaccines, the Biden administration said the state hasn’t made use of the ones already on hand. Worse still, numerous news agencies reported this without fact-checking or providing context, making it look like Florida has over a million vaccine doses it hasn’t administered. The reason we have so many unadministered is due to the second dose schedule. Regarding how long you have to wait after a first COVID vaccination before receiving the second, it depends on which one you receive.

  • For the Pfizer vaccine, you’re to wait 21 days prior to receiving the second dose
  • For the Moderna vaccine you’re to wait 28 days

Having to wait three to four weeks, based on vaccine type, is why we’ve accumulated more than a million second doses waiting to be administered. According to the daily report from the Florida Department of Health’s vaccine report thru Tuesday 1.27 million first doses had been administered compared to about 176,000 second doses. That necessarily left 1.1 million second doses waiting to be administered as Floridian’s become eligible. It’s worth noting all second doses are supposed to be administered within four days of the eligibility window. That means the 2nd vaccination should happen between 21-25 days for those immunized with the Pfizer vaccine and between 28-32 days for those receiving the Moderna vaccination. The Florida Department of Health has reported occasional issues locating people who’re ready for the 2nd dose within the prescribed time to receive it. When immunized you should set a calendar reminder for when you’re ready to receive the second dose.

As always there remain two sides to stories and one side to facts. As Governor DeSantis pointed out, based on CDC data, Florida’s rollout has been the most efficient of any large state. The dynamic of the two-dose process naturally protracts the process. The best possible near-term outcome would be for the J&J one-dose vaccine candidate to prove effective and be approved for use by the FDA.

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