CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Centers for Disease Control are reporting that a number of Americans are not returning for their second Pfizer or Moderna vaccination shots.
They said 8 percent, or 5 million people, across the country haven’t gone back, as of early April. That figure has more-than-doubled since February.
Rodriguez said, at a quick glance, it looks like 15 to 16 percent of people who got their first shot with the health district haven’t returned for the second. She said around 113,000 people have received at least one vaccination by the health district. Overall, about 35 percent of the county has been fully vaccinated, and Rodriguez said it needs to see 75 to 80 percent for herd immunity.
First and second dose clinics continue in Nueces County, where the Corpus Christi-Nueces County Public Health Director Annette Rodriguez said people opting to not get their second dose could be a big concern in the county, specifically, with the COVID-19 mutations having been detected in the state.
“We know that variants are here," she said. "We’ve heard that the Brazilian variant is in Dallas and that’s the one that we’re very fearful of. We’re trying to vaccinate with a sense of urgency and we hope people will come in and get their second dose.”
But, she said, the lines seen at two clinics on Tuesday are encouraging. Andrew Buentello was one of the people in those lines waiting to get his second shot.
“My parents already had it, my brother (has) already had it," he said. "You know, I had my first one. It wasn’t too bad, so why not the second?"
Laurie Witt also said there were more reasons to get it than not for her.
“I didn’t have any reactions or anything to it," she said. "I felt a lot more at peace about it.”
Rodriguez and some people KRIS 6 News spoke to said scheduling conflicts and adverse side effects after the first go-around made it tempting to blow off the second shot. Some even said they feel sufficiently protected with one shot.
The first shot of Pfizer gives 50 percent protection against COVID-19, Rodriguez said, and the first shot of Moderna gives 70 to 80 percent. That just means you’re left open to a higher chance of contracting and carrying the virus without the second shot, she said.
Health professional Mark Deleon said some people choose not to get the follow-up vaccination because they're stuck in their ways.
“Somebody says, 'Oh that’s fake this or that’s fake that,' " he said after his second shot. "Sometimes, it goes on how you feel about it and how you’re going to do it. How everybody is around it, and what your risk factors are."
For him, though, there was no doubt as to whether he would take the time to get fully vaccinated.
"For me, I'm five times likely to get this or die from this being a health-care professional," he said. "So for me, there’s not a lot of wiggle room on if I was going to do it or not do it. After I did the research, and after I found the one that I wanted, it’s just a matter of time of when I got here.”
Rodriguez said that even though the first dose can leave some people feeling slightly ill, they have up to six weeks after the first dose to receive their second dose.
"It should be plenty of time for you to be able to recuperate and come back," she said. "So, there really is no excuse because, remember, a little cold versus being hospitalized; it’s a world of difference.”
Deleon, the health professional, said being informed about the novel coronavirus vaccines is key to making good decisions.
“(People) don’t make sense sometimes," he said. "They don’t. There’s 'this' or 'that' or 'the third.' ‘Hey, the flu shot used to get me sick.’ Well guys, the flu shot was supposed to get you sick. That gets you sick for a day, and lowers your immunity, then picks you back up. You got to do your education.”
“I just don’t see the point in that," Witt said of forgoing the second vaccine dose. "I think we’re doing it to help everybody, to protect ourselves, protect our kids, everybody. And I just really think it’s a good thing.”
It’s important to keep in mind that the vaccine became available to all adults in Texas one month ago. It’s been available to people in other states for a longer period of time.
Rodriguez said even if you missed that six week window, you can still get your second vaccine shot. The health district will give it to you and you won’t have to start over.