Against recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly five millions of Americans have reportedly skipped their second dose of the COVID vaccine. However, as The New York Times points out, not all of these individuals did so of their own accord. “A number of vaccine providers have canceled second-dose appointments because they ran out of supply or didn’t have the right brand in stock,” the Times wrote earlier this week. In particular, one popular vaccination site has been abruptly canceling second appointments, leaving customers in the lurch. Read on to find out if you may have trouble getting dose two, and for another pressing vaccination tip, Don’t Do This Within 2 Weeks of Your COVID Vaccine, Doctors Warn.
Walgreens has been administering both the Pfizer and Moderna shots to its customers. However, due to booking errors and a limited supply of each vaccine type, “Walgreens, one of the biggest vaccine providers, sent some people who got a first shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine to get their second doses at pharmacies that only had the other vaccine on hand,” the Times reports.
Several Walgreens customers told the Times that they “scrambled, in some cases with help from pharmacy staff, to find somewhere to get the correct second dose.” However, many of these customers, discouraged by the complication, gave up and skipped dose two. And for more COVID vaccine news sent directly to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Walgreens has had several other issues with its vaccine administration—most of which have boiled down to problems with booking. First, their automated system scheduled all COVID vaccine doses 28 days apart, despite the CDC recommendation that Pfizer shots should be scheduled 21 days apart. The health authority later required the pharmacy to correct the administration schedule.
More recently, Walgreens has acknowledged a “technical glitch” in their system, which resulted in the pharmacy only scheduling second doses. NBC Chicago reports that this issue has also since been resolved. And if you want to avoid an error with your vaccine, There’s a 50 Percent Chance You’ll Make This Mistake When Getting Vaccinated.
The pharmacy’s mix up could have serious consequences if vaccine recipients skip their second dose. “Compared with the two-dose regimen, a single shot triggers a weaker immune response and may leave recipients more susceptible to dangerous virus variants,” the Times reports. Additionally, the paper explains that while one dose may confer some protection against the virus, the duration of that immunity has not yet been established.
White House COVID adviser Anthony Fauci, MD, recently issued a similar warning. “If you’re having a two-dose regimen, make sure you’re getting that second dose,” he said during an Apr. 30 White House press briefing.
If you did get your first vaccine dose at Walgreens, don’t panic: you can still plan on attending your second dose appointment as scheduled. However, you may want to call ahead to confirm that they will have the correct second dose in stock to avoid a last-minute cancellation. This will help ensure that you receive matching doses in a timely manner, whether or not you receive them from the same vaccination site. And for more on the COVID vaccine, This Common Medication Can Make Your Vaccine Less Effective, Study Says.