MCHD: More hesitant about first COVID-19 vaccine dose than second


MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Across the country, millions of Americans are missing appointments for their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to the CDC, more than five million, or about 8%, missed their second Pfizer or Moderna doses as of early April.

The Mobile County Health Department says they haven’t really had as big of an issue getting people to return for their second doses.

“Our second dose clinics are still 1,000 dose clinics. It’s our first dose clinics where people are not showing up,” said Dr. Scott Chavers with the Mobile County Health Department. He explained, “looking at the overall numbers here in Mobile County, all of the vaccination rates are down, and that’s what’s concerning. And as we said, likely due to some of the J&J effects, but also moving into those age groups that don’t feel that they’re at higher risk.”

As MCHD continues to offer vaccine clinics, they say they have had fairly good return rates for people getting their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We’ve been running 5-10% kind of just depending on several different factors and those factors can be things like people are on vacation, it ended up being over spring break, they have work issues. That’s kind of the day-to-day practical things,” said Dr. Chavers.

The Alabama Department of Public Health says they also are seeing a good response rate for the second doses. They sent us this statement:

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) reports that the MMWR publication from March 19, 2021, indicates a very high return of Alabama residents for second doses. Since that publication, ADPH notes that persons returning to health department clinics and National Guard clinics have continued to be high. Some clinics report 95% return rate. ADPH makes appointments and issues text reminders for second doses.

Karen Landers, M.D.

Dr. Chavers says they are seeing some people, in surveys they’ve done, who are hesitant to get the second dose because of fears of a stronger reaction than the first dose.

One woman who received her second dose at the Alabama Cruise Terminal Tuesday afternoon says she was hesitant to get the second dose. She waited a few extra days before getting it. She told us she was glad to be done. “Perhaps I may have some symptoms in the next few hours but now I can go out in a public setting with friends and family,” she said.

MCHD says it is important for people to get the second dose, to make sure they get the full protection of the vaccine, and the variants of the virus.

“Not only for themselves, but for us as a population to reach herd immunity. Incomplete vaccinations means we have to vaccinate more people to reach that level of immunity,” said Dr. Chavers.

You can find a list of MCHD’s vaccine clinics here.

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