More than 5 million Americans did not get their second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That’s about 8% of patients who received at least one vaccine and about double the percentage of people compared to a few weeks into the vaccine rollout.
“I got the Moderna shot,” said Makaila Tibbs, who raised concerns over receiving her second dose because of the Johnson & Johnson pause. “I got the first one. I still need to get my second one. The Johnson & Johnson does make me nervous, especially already having my first shot. It does make me skeptical.”
Medical professionals are urging people to get their follow-up shot.
“If you already started the process, finish it out,” said Dr. Ghazala Sharieff, who is the chief medical officer for acute care and clinical excellence at Scripps Health. "Especially with all the variants looming, we still have overseas cases, we still have 49 cases at Scripps today."
Sharieff told NBC 7 that she hasn’t seen hesitancy from patients at Scripps but is encouraging those who are considering skipping the second dose to continue with the regimen.
“We’re not out of the woods yet, so why not give yourself as much protection as you can?” Sharieff said.
Sharieff said she’s still treating COVID-19 patients, including someone who decided against getting the COVID-19 vaccine despite being eligible.
“The family is just heartbroken," Sharieff said. "That’s really hard, when he was eligible, decided not to, and now, we have people who are critically ill as a result. It’s a risk-benefit thing."
Some people told NBC 7 the benefits outweigh the risks.
“I’m scheduled to get the second dose next week, Monday," said Mission Valley resident Chukwuemeka Eze. "That’s a week from today, and I’m very excited about that."
“I wanted to get my life back to normal, so I wanted both doses -- no hesitancy at all,” added Denise Petitti, who is fully vaccinated.
Shareiff said she encourages people to talk with their doctors before skipping their second dose or opting out.
“I don’t think there’s a need to wait any longer, because we’ve got so many vaccines that we’ve already done with those two brands [Moderna and Pfizer], and, frankly, I got Johnson & Johnson and I would get it again,” Shareiff said.