SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — More than 140,000 San Diegans who have received their first dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are overdue for their second dose, according to county public health officials.
The recommended spacing between the two-dose vaccines is three weeks for Pfizer and four weeks for Moderna.
San Diego County public health officials said a single dose of either vaccine is less effective against the coronavirus than getting both doses. Getting both doses is recommended, regardless of how long ago a person received their first shot.
With the emergence of the delta variant of the virus, which health experts say is a more contagious mutation of the virus. As of Wednesday, in San Diego County, there have been 54 confirmed cases of the delta variant, resulting in four hospitalizations and one death.
"A single dose of those vaccines is only 33 percent effective against the more contagious delta variant of COVID-19, which has become the most prevalent strain of the virus in the United States and is likely to become more prevalent locally,” said Denise Foster, the county’s chief nursing officer and COVID-19 clinical director. "San Diegans who are overdue for their second shot should take action as soon as possible to lower their risk of getting or spreading the virus."
The county says since the beginning of the year, more than 99 percent of cases, hospitalizations and deaths have been in unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals.
"People think COVID is over, I can tell you for sure it's not. I have 15 people in my clinic today who are sicker than most that I've seen," said Dr. Christian Ramers, an infectious disease specialist with Family Health Centers of San Diego. "That second dose is more important now than ever. We now have studies showing that the first dose is not that good against the delta variant."
Ramers said even late, the second dose is still effective.
According to vaccination data, 2,207,468 (78.8%) San Diegans have been vaccinated with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 1,893,523 (67.6%) residents have been fully vaccinated.
Everyone 12 years and older is eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine for free.