Why We Need Two Doses of the COVID-19 Vaccine

It is common knowledge that COVID-19 vaccines only fully take effect when patients receive two doses, with the recommended time between each shot being three weeks for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and four weeks for the Moderna vaccine. However, misleading articles and information questioning the need for the second vaccine dose that are circulating around the Internet may, perhaps, negatively impact the efficacy of the overall treatment. 

According to NBC News, “Nearly two months into the Covid-19 vaccination effort, U.S. public health authorities have another challenge on their hands: making sure that people who’ve had their first shots return for their second shots…Researchers have reasons for concern. Vaccines for other types of illnesses may give clues about the challenge for public health authorities. For the anti-shingles vaccine Shingrix, about 25 percent of people who get the first dose don’t show up for their second doses, said Dr. Paul Offit, a vaccine researcher at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.” 

Although studies have shown that there may be relatively strong side effects after receiving the second dose of the vaccine, it is still essential to do so, as evidence has demonstrated that these reactions are signs of the patients’ immune systems growing stronger. Baptist Health states, “It’s critical to a vaccine’s effectiveness that you follow all the recommended guidelines for its administration and use. In the case of the COVID-19 vaccines, the first shot of the series begins the immunological response and the second shot builds on this response significantly. For example, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was found to be 52% effective after the first does and 95% effective after the second dose. Receiving only one of two shots potentially weakens your resistance to COVID-19.” 

Furthermore, according to NBC News, “Vaccine experts are concerned that people may not realize that one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna shots won’t be enough to fully protect them against the virus… ‘One dose might make it easier to create variants, because the virus is wounded with a lesser immune response, not not killed…And when wounded, it has a chance to escape.” Therefore, not only does receiving two vaccine doses result in a much higher efficacy rate, but it also helps prevent the creation of new mutations with higher success. There have been multiple different strains of the coronavirus from all across the world, including the UK variant and the South Africa variant, and as everyone is more prone to being infected with increasingly dangerous variants of COVID-19, it is crucial that we, as global citizens, do our best keep each other safe and fight against this virus together. 

Picture credit: MERS Coronavirus Particle by NIAID.

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