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Concern growing over Americans skipping second vaccine dose, here’s how Iowans are doing

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WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL)- A growing number of Americans are reportedly skipping their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Nationwide, the CDC said around 8% of Americans have missed their second dose.

To be fully vaccinated, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses, spaced three to four weeks apart.

According to the CDC, some are skipping the second dose because of negative side effects they experienced from the first one. In other cases, work or scheduling conflicts force them to miss appointments.

"Life happens, things happen, and schedules change where people can't make it that second appointment," Greenwood Pharmacy Manager Joe Greenwood said. "We work to fill that appointment with somebody else, whether that's another second dose or someone that needs the first dose."

As of Monday, the Iowa Department of Public Health said 342,763 Iowans had received one dose of the vaccine. 61,773 are around the three or four-week minimum mark to get their second dose. 23,104 Iowans are between 1 and 7 days after the earliest day to get their second dose.

According to the CDC, you can wait up to six weeks after your first shot to get your second.

"We are working to ensure Iowans understand that getting their second dose of vaccine is critical to protecting themselves against COVID-19," IDPH Spokesperson Sarah Ekstrand said. "We are committed to understanding and eliminating barriers Iowans are experiencing in getting their second dose of vaccine."

Greenwood said he spends time educating his customers on the importance of getting both doses. He has not seen people completely skip out on their second dose but has had to re-schedule appointments.

"It is not just that one person canceling the vaccine," he said. "It is trying to find somebody else to get the vaccine, so it doesn't go to waste."

Staff scramble to find another arm to put the shot in, whether it is a Greenwood customer or at another hospital or pharmacy in town.

To make it easier to get vaccinated, stores like Greenwood Pharmacy and Hy-Vee now allow walk-ins. You can still make an appointment as well.

With just under one-third of the state's population vaccinated, Greenwood said there is still a long way to go.

"The more people we get vaccinated, the faster we can get things back to a sense of normal," he said. "We can get back into ballgames, concerts, graduation parties, Fourth of July parties, and Memorial Day parties."

Demand for the vaccine has been down in recent days, in part because of the brief pause on the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Once again this week, several counties did not take their full allotment from the state. With the vaccine now back in service, state officials hope it will convince more Iowans to roll up their sleeves.

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Daniel Perreault

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