In-Depth: What to do if you miss the 42-day window for the second COVID vaccine shot

Postponements, cancellations lead to worry
Posted at 6:00 AM, Mar 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-18 23:00:13-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Three separate closures at the Petco Park Vaccine Super Station have affected thousands of San Diegans waiting to get their COVID-19 vaccine.

For some of them, it meant they missed the 42-day window the CDC recommends for the second shot.

"It's very frustrating, and I don't know where to go," says Jeanne Monteleone, who has had her appointment for a second shot postponed three times.

"My appointment was February 19 for the second shot, and that got canceled," she says. "And then the next appointment was March 1, and that got canceled. And then I was supposed to have an appointment for March 5, and that got canceled, and I haven't gotten it rescheduled yet."

UC San Diego runs the Petco Park Vaccination Super Station. It only offers the Moderna vaccine. Because of supply, delivery, and weather issues, the site has had to close three separate times since the start of February.

The CDC says people who get the Moderna vaccine should get their second shot no sooner than 28 days after their first and not wait longer than 42 days.

It also says the 42-day limit is because Moderna didn't complete any trials beyond that interval since their goal was to get the vaccine distributed as soon as possible. The CDC says the research is still ongoing to see if the vaccine loses efficacy after 42 days.

Even County Board of Supervisor Chairman Nathan Fletcher says his father-in-law has had three postponements for the second shot at Petco. He says people need to show some patience as the County and UC San Diego work through the delays.

"There's just a critical shortage right now," he says. "We want everyone to get their second dose, and we hope that it stabilizes so that people don't have the uncertainty and inconvenience of when they're going to get it."

UC San Diego says they prioritize second shots at Petco right now and reschedule people who had their appointment canceled based on how close they are to the 42-day mark. Meanwhile, doctors at UC San Diego say getting a shot after 42 days will still offer increased protection against the Coronavirus.

UC San Diego's website says there is evidence from other vaccines that show, "boosting the initial immune response is even more effective when there is a longer interval between first and second doses."

It also says, "experts at UC San Diego and throughout the scientific community are confident that a delay beyond cited interval times will not reduce the benefits of the second dose, which we are committed to providing as soon as possible."

That's promising for Monteleone, who still wants to get the second shot, despite missing the 42-day deadline.

"I would like to get it in the next few days," she says. "I just don't know what to do next."