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It takes two: The importance of getting the second dose of the vaccine

Bayo Curry-Winchell
Bayo Curry-Winchell
Opinion
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With emergence of the Delta variant and COVID-19 cases on the rise again in Nevada, it’s important to get the second shot as it provides a full layer of protection.

The Delta variant is highly transmissible and is leading to an increase in cases, hospitalizations, and unfortunately, death. We have witnessed the destruction it has caused in other countries, making it imperative that we understand just how fortunate we are in the U.S. to have the vaccine readily available to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities. In order to have the most protection, the second shot is necessary in arming yourself against the virus.

Still, while the vaccine is widely available and improvements in access to the vaccine have been made, many are hesitant to return for the second dose. As of this writing, the Nevada Health Response Tracker cited that 47 percent of Nevada’s population (ages 12 years and older), have been fully vaccinated.

When we look at why people do not return to receive the second shot, we hear several reasons in the field. In most cases after getting the first shot, patients will experience soreness at the injection site, fatigue and body aches, and some overall malaise which can deter them from going back to get the second dose. However, I like to remind my patients (as well as the public), that these side effects are temporary and the body’s way of arming itself. Think of it as a “dress rehearsal” - should you ever come into contact with COVID-19.

Misinformation is another factor for those not returning. With the exception of the Janssen shot, the clinical trials were based on two shots only. By discovering this information, it revealed a high-level of protection with both Pfizer and Moderna, and the one-dose Janssen. With just one shot of Pfizer and Moderna, there is uncertainty about the level of protection you will receive.

Unfortunately, there’s been some hesitation and concern due to the recent investigation and findings about Myocarditis correlation to the vaccine. Because of this –– although extremely rare –– parents and adults have elected to not get the second shot.

As a practicing urgent care physician and mother, if you are experiencing fear, hesitation, or misinformation about the vaccine, I recommend finding a trusted messenger to ask questions.

YOU are your best advocate for your health and the health of your children. Speak with your doctor today and visit trusted resources including the CDC and the Nevada Health Response for the latest information, as well as frequently asked questions.

With that being said, our best chance at fighting the virus and mutations such as the Delta variant, is the vaccine itself. Although the virus can continue to mutate as we navigate through these unprecedented times, we can do our part by getting both shots – leaving the virus with nowhere to go.

Dr. Bayo Curry-Winchell, MD, MS, is a board-certified, practicing urgent care physician based in Reno, NV, where she serves as Regional Clinical Director for Carbon Health and Medical Director for Saint Mary’s Medical Group. Dr. Curry-Winchell is dedicated to highlighting healthcare disparities and is a member of the Mayor’s task force on COVID-19.

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