Doctor with UTHSC says late second doses are still effective

Late second doses are still effective

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The mad dash to get an appointment for a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine has left some people concerned they may miss their inoculation deadline.

“So I don’t want folks getting overly stressed that they can’t get their second dose exactly on time,” said Dr. Scott Strome, the executive dean of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine.

Strome says it’s important to get both shots but it’s OK if you’re a little behind schedule.

Mid-Southerners left waiting for second dose of vaccine

On Thursday the Centers for Disease Control released a statement which said in part:

“The second dose should be administered as close to the recommended interval as possible, however, if it is not feasible to adhere to the recommended interval, the second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines may be scheduled for administration up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose.”

Strome says there is a good reason for that recommendation because our bodies have incredible memories after the initial shot.

“So our bodies are amazing and once we see something before oftentimes for the lifetime of the individual you will have immunological memory,” said Strome.

But that doesn’t stop people from getting anxious about finishing their rounds of shots.

A new anxiety in what has already been a stressful year.

“I’m very concerned about it. As we continue on we’re staying away for our physical health, but it’s chipping away at our mental health,” said licensed Psychologist Dr. Karen Streeter.

Streeter says when it comes to scheduling for vaccines, it’s important to destress by focusing on the positive.

“So you want to keep in the present and keep telling yourself what you can do in this situation instead of thinking about ‘what ifs,’” said Streeter.

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