Mayo Clinic Health System is urging patients to return for their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, and for teens 16 and up to be vaccinated.
According to a CDC report, as of earlier this month around 5 million U.S. residents, or 8%, had skipped their final vaccine dose. In comparison, from Dec. 14 through Feb. 14, 95.6% had completed the vaccine series within the advised time period — three weeks apart for Pfizer, four for Moderna.
Dr. Erin Morcombe of Mayo surmises some individuals feel one dose offers sufficient protection, making a second nonessential, while others are perhaps concerned about side effects, which may be more severe after the second shot. Others may find returning inconvenient, whether due to their schedule or potential travel time.
At Mayo, Morcombe says, only 0.29% of patients thus far have not returned for their final dose, below national average, but she would prefer the number “to be zero.”
“There is still some room for improvement,” Morcombe says.
Per the CDC, one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna shot is 80% effective, while two doses increase the percentage to 90% at two weeks out. While even one dose has higher efficacy than, for example, the flu shot, protection is believed to last longer with a completed vaccine series. Persons who prefer to be “one and done” can consider the Johnson and Johnson one shot vaccine, which, while briefly paused by the CDC and FDA for review of extremely rare resulting blood clots, is again recommended and deemed both highly safe and effective, as are the Pfizer and Moderna versions. J&J may not be available at all local vaccine sites, which include Mayo, Gundersen, Walgreens and Walmart locations, Weber Health Logistics, the Community Vaccine clinic at UWL and temporary clinics hosted by local entities. While it was additionally recommended that those who contract COVID-19 wait 90 days post recovery to be vaccinated, it is now advised to be vaccinated once you are out of the isolation period (two weeks) and symptom free. With the Pfizer vaccine available to those 16 and 17, Morcombe encourages parents or guardians to make an appointment for their teen, especially as more infectious COVID-19 variants circulate and schools are seeing a rise in cases. Mayo, Gundersen’s Onalaska Clinic and Weber Health Logistics are now all offering walk-in appointments to those 18 and older during select days and times for additional convenience.
Emily Pyrek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.