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Only about 60% of people coming back for 2nd COVID-19 vaccine shots at Cleveland Clinic

Numbers could improve if people reschedule their second dose.
Updated: Apr. 19, 2021 at 2:05 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The number of people completing their COVID-19 vaccination continues to rise in Ohio, but according to the Cleveland Clinic, only about 60% of people are showing back up for their second shot.

At the Clinic, a second appointment is automatically scheduled after a first dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine is given, but not everyone is showing back up for the second.

“From past experience with any other vaccine, not even talking about the COVID vaccine, when you talk about getting anybody to comply with two doses, three weeks apart, four weeks apart, six months apart, it’s hard,” according to Dr. Michelle Medina, the Clinic’s associate chief of clinical operations. “Life just happens. And in the best case scenario most adult two dose series of vaccines, you can usually only get to about 40 to 50% completion rate.”

Perhaps because of the seriousness of the COVID-19 illness, the Clinic is seeing better results then that, but still only about 60% completion rate so far.

Medina explained it is a rolling number which could get higher as people reschedule missed appointments.

As for why people might be skipping their second dose?

“Sometimes people are wary of the side effects,” Medina said. “They maybe get side effects with the first, they’re wary about coming in for the second. You may have people who are sitting on the fence about getting the COVID vaccine. They get a side effect and they think, you know what I don’t want to risk it anymore and get the second dose. And as I said a lot of things can happen between the time that you schedule your first and the time that you schedule your appointment three weeks later.”

Research shows, while people get some level of protection with just a single dose it is highly recommended people complete the vaccination.

“The best studies that we’ve seen it gets you up to about 85% protection,” according to Medina. “And certainly I think that’s out in the public. People may have seen that, and they may have said, ‘that’s good enough for me and I’m not going to come back.’ And between actually getting one dose it gives you that, and getting a second dose it really brings up your protection, would you rather come back for the second? Absolutely I think it actually gives you that added boost.”

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