While one dose still effective against virus, its unclear how it affects effort to reach herd immunity
Stickers and syringes holding the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are ready for patients during a vaccination clinic at the UI Health Support Services Building in Coralville on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Nearly a quarter of Iowans have missed their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to state public health officials.
More than 66,000 Iowans have skipped or delayed the second shot in a two-dose vaccine series as of May 2, according to data obtained from the Iowa Department of Human Services.
Of the 275,013 individuals who have received the first shot of the two-dose vaccine series, 66,490 have not received a second shot within the recommended 21- to 28-day time frame, data shows.
The minimum interval between doses for the Pfizer-BioNTech is 21 days. For Moderna, it’s 28 days.
Of the more than 66,000 individuals, 27,015 are between one and 7 days past the minimum interval, Iowa Department of Public Health spokeswoman Sarah Ekstrand said.
State officials did not elaborate on why Iowans may not be returning for their second dose. While state officials have raised the alarm in recent weeks about the rate of vaccine hesitancy among Iowans, other public health officials have said barriers to accessing the shot also are a major driver.
State officials are hopeful the Johnson and Johnson vaccine will increase the number of vaccines administered in the state. The single dose COVID-19 vaccine may be appealing to those who want the convenience of a one-time shot, Ekstrand said.
“We are committed to understanding and eliminating barriers Iowans are experiencing in getting their second dose of vaccine,” Ekstrand said in an email.
As of April 26, 61,773 Iowans had missed their second dose, state data shows. Of that, 23,104 were a week or less beyond the recommended minimum interval.
About 42 percent of all Iowans eligible for the vaccine are fully vaccinated, according to state coronavirus data. As of Tuesday, 1,060,693 Iowa residents aged 16 and older had completed a full vaccine series.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphasizes its essential for individuals to get the second dose as close to the recommended interval as possible.
If that’s not feasible, the CDC says individuals can receive the second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines up to six weeks, or 42 days, after the first dose.
While the number of Iowans only receiving partial immunization could be worrisome for reaching herd immunity against the novel coronavirus, some studies have shown a single dose still can be highly effective.
One dose of Pfizer’s and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine was found to be 80 percent effective in preventing infections, according to a CDC study published in late March. That study analyzed the effectiveness of the vaccines among nearly 4,000 front-line and other essential workers.
However, the vaccine’s effectiveness reached 90 percent with two doses, the study found.
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