LDH: Short Delay in Getting Second COVID Vaccine is OK

Residents who miss their second COVID vaccine dose appointments can safely delay the second dose days or weeks if need be.

The CDC has said it expects last week’s severe winter weather to cause widespread delays in vaccine shipments. Louisiana is one such state feeling the impact – both first and second vaccine deliveries to the state have been delayed. Unfortunately, that means vaccine appointments and events scheduled for this week will need to be adjusted based on delivery. 

So what if your second dose of COVID vaccine is delayed due to vaccine shortages, weather events, or you miss it? What do you do?

If you have received the Moderna vaccine, ideally your second shot should be given 28 days after your first one. If you get the Pfizer vaccine, the second dose should be given 21 days after the first. Just know, in a pinch, you can safely delay the second dose up to 42 days and likely longer after the first dose if need be, according to the CDC.

The CDC guidance states that the second dose should be administered as close to the recommended interval as possible, but the shot will still be effective if there is a short delay in getting the second dose. There is no need to restart the vaccination series if the second dose must be delayed.

A few tips from the Louisiana Department of Health:

-Make sure to communicate with the doctor or vaccination site at the time of your first dose to get a second shot appointment.

-If the appointment is cancelled due to delivery delays, weather, or you miss it, call the site to be rescheduled. Make sure to let the site know you need your second dose, and what date your first dose was administered on.

-Even though it is acceptable to delay the second dose days or weeks if need be, it should still be the goal to get this second dose on time (21 days after a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine or 28 days after a first dose of the Moderna vaccine).