Vaccine Central

Top infectious disease doctor breaks down risks of skipping 2nd COVID-19 shot

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Millions of Americans are opting out of their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine in part because of the suspected link between blood clots and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

  • Listen to this story

But, one doctor says, there is no data to support this opting out is beneficial or safe. In fact, skipping the second shot is potentially dangerous. 

“I would recommend starting over if you wait past the recommended time period,” said Dr. Cole Beeler, infectious disease specialist at IU Health, “because you get boosters after a certain amount of time in order to capitalize on the immune response that’s already been started after the first dose. This two-dose series, we know it protects at greater than a 90% rate for Moderna and Pfizer. We don’t know how long it protects if you delay that second dose.”

The two doses of Pfizer should be three weeks apart. For Moderna, it’s four weeks.

The Food and Drug Administration along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday lifted the pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Both organizations determined it is safe to use. 

Beeler said, “We’re going to discover these small signals of potential side effects, and some of them might be severe, but it’s all risk analysis. The risk of you getting a blood clot from COVID-19 is much higher than you getting a blood clot from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.”