Got your 1st dose of vaccine? Be sure to get your 2nd


Got your 1st dose of vaccine? Be sure to get your 2nd

Once you receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, it’s vitally important to follow through with the second.
Two of the three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the U.S. require two doses spaced a few weeks apart to be most effective. Concerningly, however, vaccine providers have found that a small number of people are forgoing the second shot.
“We’re strongly encouraging people to benefit from both shots,” says Dr. Gerald Harmon, vice president of medical affairs at Tidelands Health, our region’s leader in COVID-19 vaccination. “Although people may begin to benefit from some level of protection after receiving the first dose of the vaccine, it’s unclear how complete that protection is or how long it might last.”

Make a vaccination appointment today

Make an appointment today to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at Tidelands Health, our region’s leader in COVID-19 vaccination.
COVID-19 vaccination appointments are now available for individuals in Phases 1a and 1b.
If you meet Phase 1a or 1b eligibility, you can request an appointment online or by phone. Learn how by clicking here.

By contrast, clinical studies have found both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to be approximately 95 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 after the second dose.
“The first dose of vaccine essentially primes the immune system to recognize the virus,” says Dr. Harmon. “The second dose is necessary to prompt a strong immunological response and affords you maximum, clinically proven protection against the virus.”

Temporary symptoms normal

Some people who experience temporary symptoms, which can include headache, fever, chills and fatigue, after the first dose of the vaccine may be hesitant to receive the second, Dr. Harmon says. 

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However, it’s important to remember that such symptoms are a good sign because they indicate the body is responding to the vaccine and building immunity.
“It’s not uncommon for people to develop mild symptoms, but they are short-lived,” says Dr. Harmon. “Any temporary discomfort would pale in comparison to the serious and potentially life-threatening complications people can experience if infected by COVID-19.”

Finish what you started

At Tidelands Health, people who receive the first dose of the vaccine are automatically scheduled for their second. To date, the health system has administered more than 40,000 doses of vaccine – more than any other provider in the region.
“It’s important to finish what you’ve started,” Dr. Harmon says. “If you’ve had the first dose, take full advantage of the vaccine by getting your second dose. Doing so is critical to keeping you, your loved ones and the community at large safe and healthy.”

Meet the Expert

Dr. Gerald Harmon

Dr. Gerald Harmon, who has cared for patients in our region for more than 35 years, is a family medicine physician and vice president of medical affairs at Tidelands Health.

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