Nearly 15 million people in the US have missed their second dose of the coronavirus vaccine, handing an intriguing problem to the authorities amid varying immunisation timelines and the spread of the highly transmissible delta variant, according to media reports on Sunday. As of June 16, nearly 11 per cent of vaccine recipients in the US have not taken their second dose, The Washington Post reported quoting data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The second dose is considered 'missed', if 42 days have elapsed since the first shot, the newspaper reported. Ideally, the second jab is advised three weeks after the first Pfizer-BioNTech shot or four weeks after the first Moderna shot.
The health department is considering a booster shot on top of the two m-RNA jabs, however authorities admit the case could get complicated for the ones who have missed their second doses. Health officials are further concerned as the delta variant — first identified in India — continues to spread.
Last week, the World Health Organization cautioned that the Delta variant is continuing to evolve and mutate placing the world in a very "dangerous period" of the pandemic. Compounded by more transmissible variants, like Delta, which is quickly becoming the dominant strain in many countries, we are in a very dangerous period of this pandemic, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing.
In a report, CNN said the vaccines are far more effective against the Delta variant but for that both jabs need to be administered. The Delta variant has so far been detected in at least 95 countries, though the number is believed to higher as some countries may not have the sequencing capacity to identify the strain. Disease expert Kristen Marks told the Washington Post that if more people continue to skip the second dose the rate of new infections will increase.
"Most of the covid cases we've seen in vaccinated people that have landed in the hospital have been people who haven't yet gotten the second dose. I think that's telling us something," the New York-based medical practitioner said. US Medical officials enlisted a number of possible reasons why many have missed their second jabs, though reiterating its not a good sign.
Some mistakenly believe one dose is enough to be protected, some bail out considering the unpleasant (sometimes) side effects, some people simply confront scheduling problems, The Washington Post article read. Now, the officials are not considering a change in tact to enforce the seriousness of both jabs.
The coronavirus has so far killed 605,499 people, along with 33,715,157 confirmed infections in the US, according to Johns Hopkins University.