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More Than 630,000 Texans Are Overdue For Their Second Dose Of The COVID-19 Vaccine

As of Sunday, about 635,000 Texans were 43 or more days from their first COVID vaccine shot but still hadn’t gotten their second, state health officials say.

Chris Van Deusen, a spokesman with the Texas Department of State Health Services, said federal and state health officials recommend people get their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine within three to six weeks after the first. For the Moderna vaccine, they recommend getting the second dose four to six weeks later.

But there are Texans who are missing that window.

“It’s certainly something we have been talking about,” Van Deusen said. “There is a significant number of people … who are overdue at this point for that second dose, and we want them to get it because it’s the best way to protect themselves and protect everybody else.”

It’s important Texans get their second shot as soon as possible, Van Deusen said.

As of Wednesday, almost 19 million doses of the COVID vaccine had been administered in the state. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services website, about 8.2 million Texans are fully vaccinated.

Dr. Doug Jeffrey, an emergency physician in Round Rock and board member of the Texas College of Emergency Physicians, said having the full two doses is important because it starts the second immune process “through cellular immunity,” which is what makes protection last.

“So if we want to have herd immunity or get back to normal as fast as possible, we really need to have [people's] immunity last as long as possible,” he said. "And that really requires getting both doses of the vaccine.”

Jeffrey said it will be important for Texans to get fully vaccinated in the coming months to limit the continued spread of the virus — and, most importantly, the spread of its variants. He said vaccinations could also limit any new variants from cropping up.

“Full vaccination with both doses is essential,” he said. “And that’s going to help you, it’s going to help your family, and it’s going to help your neighbors and your community.”

Van Deusen said the state is reminding providers to set up appointments for second doses when they give someone the first dose. He said state health officials will continue to monitor the issue.

Copyright 2021 KUT 90.5. To see more, visit KUT 90.5.

Ashley Lopez is a reporter forWGCUNews. A native of Miami, she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a journalism degree.