Delayed second COVID vaccine? Health expert says don’t panic

ABC10 Health Expert Dr. Payal Kohli spoke about what people can expect if their booster appointment is canceled and how long they can go without their second dose.

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. — As many might experience delays or cancelations in getting second COVID-19 vaccinations due to supply demands, ABC10 Health Expert Dr. Payal Kohli spoke about what people can expect and how long they can go without their booster. 

What is the recommended timeline to get the second vaccination?

Dr. Kohli: “The recommended timeline if you received a Pfizer vaccine is to get your second shot around three weeks later. And the recommended timeline for Moderna is to get the second shot around four weeks later.” 

Is that timeline flexible?

Dr. Kohli: “The CDC does say that even though it’s not recommended to intentionally delay the second dose, if you’re in a pinch, you can delay that second dose up to six weeks.”

If people go passed that 6 weeks what should they do? 

Dr. Kohli: “If you miss the second booster altogether and it’s been several months, then you really start to ask yourself if you should start from the beginning. Because the point of that second booster is to increase the depth and duration of the antibody response. So you want to give it within a period of time from that first booster that you’re immune system still remembers that virus and how to attack it. So it can boost that response the second time. If 6 or 8 months have gone by from the first to the second shot, it is entirely plausible that your antibodies have waned and you’ll have to start all over.”

Can I book an appointment where they’re offering a vaccine from a manufacturer that’s different from my first dose? 

Dr. Kohli: “No. We don’t yet know whether that’s an appropriate combination. It’s something that’s under study right now, to mix manufacturers and different types of vaccines.”

Should people panic if they miss an appointment or receive notice of cancelation? 

Dr. Kohli: “I don’t want people to worry if they’re a week late or two weeks late on their second dose because likely, clinically, it probably won’t make that much of a difference. We’re accumulating data, but try as much as you can, if it’s possible to get it within that time period, but don’t freak out if there are production problems that prevent you from getting it.”

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