As of now, being fully vaccinated is defined as having received both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or the single Johnson & Johnson shot.
But there are still a number of San Diegans who started the vaccination process with one of the two-dose shots and are now months behind schedule for shot number two.
Dr. Jyotu Sandhu at Sharp Reese-Stealy Medical Group says preventing hospital visits is of major importance, and doing so starts with getting fully vaccinated.
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“A lot of people get educated the hard way when they find themselves on a ventilator. So that’s something we want to avoid,” Dr. Sandhu said.
Getting fully vaccinated, and following up with a booster shot, the CDC recommends, is the best way to protect yourself. But so many have decided against going back for that second shot, or getting one at all. So what's stopping people?
“I mean, with this pandemic going on, I think vaccinations unfortunately have been politicized. And that leads to a lot of misinformation,” Sandhu said. "People are understandably cautious when they start hearing misinformation, which I think is leading to vaccine hesitancy or getting partially vaccinated."
Sandhu said even the antibody levels of fully vaccinated people start to wane over time.
“That’s why you need that second dose to really give that long lasting antibody protection that we’ve seen initially with Pfizer and Moderna lasting upwards of eight months,” Sandhu said.
So is one better than none?
“Very difficult to say, but if people have had one dose over 6 months ago you can pretty safely say that they’re at a high, much higher risk for a COVID infection. Especially now with omicron, which we know is far more infectious than delta,” Sandhu said.