HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Preliminary numbers from the state show thousands who have had their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine have not yet followed up for a second.
Statistics posted Wednesday show 153,000 people in Hawaii have gotten the first shot of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine since they were first available. Only 48,500 have received a second shot.
The exact number of people who have not received their second dose on time is not yet known because of delays in vaccine reporting. But the state figures show the figure is in the thousands.
Lt. Gov. Josh Green, who is also a medical doctor, said two shots are essential for the highest level of protection against the virus.
“The first shot gives you 50% immunity that second shot from Moderna and Pfizer gets you well over 90%,” Green said.
The time between each dose varies by brand ― 21 days if you received the Pfizer version and 28 if it was the Moderna version.
Other states that track such data show similar drop-offs.
People who have not followed up cited a number of reasons, including forgetting, getting busy or being afraid about side effects.
Thomas Lee, co-chair of the Hawaii Pandemic Applied Modeling Group, said side effects are common but short-lived.
“What we’re educating everybody about is side effects are going to be common and the vast majority of people will have side effects that will resolve in 24-72 hours,” Lee said.
He added more severe side effects are rare.
To help people remember that they’re due for shot number two, the locations are setting up that second appointment when the first dose is administered.
Experts say the window to getting the second dose is up to 42 days so most people who are overdue can still get the protection by setting up their appointment.
The Health Department pointed out that vaccinations this week and next week are mostly for those getting their second shot so they expect the numbers to rise sharply.