TAMPA, Fla. — More than one million people have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida so far. While thousands of those people have received both shots, thousands of people are also considered overdue for their second dose.
The latest data from the Florida Department of Health (FLDOH) shows 1,031,795 total people have been vaccinated in Florida as of Monday, Jan. 18. Of those people, 93,258 have completed their vaccine series or received all the recommended doses to be considered fully immunized.
“If you only had a single shot, it was maybe 50, 51 percent effective. If you go to the second shot, it was reported as 95 percent effective,” said USF Health professor Dr. Thomas Unnasch.
FLDOH data also shows about 45,000 people are overdue, or past the recommended time frame, to get their second dose. Dr. Unnasch doesn’t necessarily think supply was the problem.
“I think it’s much more likely that people just forgot the appointment or decided they’d had enough and didn’t want to do it or something like that,” said Unnasch.
Dr. Unnasch explains immunity you get from a single dose may not last as long as if you get both. He also says both doses are important for reaching a high threshold for herd immunity.
“If everybody got vaccinated today with one shot and only one shot and it was only 50 percent effective, you’d only have 50 percent of the people, so you’d still come short of herd immunity, which means that you’re still going to have a lot of people who are going to get sick and are going to die before you reach that 75 or 80 percent,” said Unnasch.
Unnasch reminds people even if you’ve gotten the vaccine, you’ll still need to follow COVID-19 safety measures like wearing a mask and social distancing. So for whatever reason, Unnasch wants people to remember how important it is when it comes to your second COVID-19 shot.
“Given the choice between flipping a coin, ‘Well I’m not sure whether I’m protected or not,’ and walking around and knowing you’re protected, I would always choose the second one myself,” said Unnasch.