After a new report revealed that millions of Americans have potentially skipped their second coronavirus vaccine doses, Illinois health officials say that they are prepared to continue following up with individuals who may have received one dose but not the follow-up shot.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than five million people, or nearly 8% of those who were given a first dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, have missed their second doses.
While it is unclear how many of those individuals live in the state of Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker says that the state is trying to do everything it can to overcome skepticism and fear of the treatments.
“I’m hopeful…we’re doing everything we can to address the people who haven’t been vaccinated, but have just been a little uncertain and unsure,” he said.
Pritzker says some of the disparity in numbers between doses one and two can be explained by getting the shots in different places, which can cause some issues in terms of properly counting those who have been fully vaccinated.
Even still, he says that the state is prepared to reach out to individuals that it believes have skipped their second shots.
“We’ll make sure that we’re following up with people who think we have had one dose of the vaccine and haven’t had their second to make sure that they go in and have them get set,” he said.
According to the New York Times, reasons varied for the missed second shots, with some individuals saying they feared side effects, while others said they felt they were sufficiently protected by a single shot.
The latter belief, at least in patients who had mild or asymptomatic cases of COVID, has been disputed by scientists, including researchers from Northwestern University’s Institute for Policy Research. That study indicated that one dose of two-dose COVID-19 vaccines does not provide sufficient protection against the virus in those individuals.
Researchers say the study shows the importance of getting coronavirus vaccines, and in getting both doses if you do.
“Our data are suggesting that the path to herd immunity really is through vaccination,” Professor Thomas McDade said.
In the state of Illinois, 29.75% of the population has been fully vaccinated against the virus, with nearly 8.9 million doses of the vaccine administered so far.
The state is still averaging more than 100,000 doses administered per day over the last seven days, with that number decreasing slightly in recent days as supply of the vaccine begins to outpace demand in some locations.
According to the most recent data available from the CDC, about 28.5% of the population in the U.S. -- around 95 million people -- are now fully vaccinated against the virus, with 140 million individuals receiving at least one dose of the vaccine.