Blue Shield of California
COVID-19 Resource Center for Employers, Plan Sponsors, Brokers and Consultants

B2B General

May 27, 2021 - 3 min read

The importance of completing a two-part vaccine

Why people miss their second dose and how to encourage them to get it


While continuing to combat COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and misinformation, the United States is facing an emerging trend of individuals missing their second dose of two-part vaccines. With the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, Americans are missing their second dose at a rate of about 8%. Although a 92% success rate is a stat to be celebrated, the 8% is up from 3.4% in March and represents more than five million Americans. Here, we dispel second-dose myths and provide supporting facts and sources for communicating the necessity of the second dose to clients or employees.

Reasons vary for why so many miss the second dose – from being misinformed to being too busy, or being afraid of flu-like reactions. However, the vaccines are simply not as effective without the second dose. After a single dose, the body delivers a weaker immune response leaving the person open to contracting variants of the virus. Additionally, studies of adults over age 65 show that people in that age group are 64% less likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19, whereas fully vaccinated adults were 94% less likely.

Scheduling two appointments within a month--and factoring in potential side effects—isn’t easy for many working Americans, but there is some flexibility in scheduling.  The window to receive the second vaccine dose varies a little between Moderna (recommended after three four) and Pfizer recommended after three weeks). However, the CDC reports doses can be administered up to six weeks apart, which gives busy working people more wiggle room in their schedule.

Employers planning to resume in-person operations should consider options for encouraging employees to make an appointment and become fully immunized. This may include discussing the importance of getting a second dose and providing employees with flexibility in their work schedules so they can get the vaccine and recover from any side effects they experience. If being vaccinated is a work requirement, California employers are required to provide time off for vaccine appointments. While it can be challenging for smaller businesses to provide scheduling flexibility for employees to get their vaccine, the benefits of having a vaccinated workforce are substantial.

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