Kentucky health leaders stress importance of second COVID-19 shot

Updated: May. 26, 2021 at 11:59 AM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - State leaders are concerned about Kentuckians who aren’t getting their second COVID-19 vaccine.

During his address Tuesday, Governor Andy Beshear talked about the increasing number of people who got their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, but not their second.

The director of Kentucky’s Department of Health, Dr. Steven Stack, said that the state averages a 90 percent follow-up rate. However, that varies from region to region. As things start to improve, it could become more of an issue.

“One of the things we would be very concerned about is as people look around and see activity resuming and think things are back to normal, that people may say you know I don’t need to come back for the second shot,” Dr. Stack said. “That’s not correct.”

The WEDCO District Health Department director said it’s hard for people on the local level to know exactly how many people are missing their second dose because so many are going to different places for the second shot.

Experts in vaccine development said the second shot is necessary to increase the effectiveness and the length of the vaccine protection.

“That second dose really helps your immune system go full speed, so if we are exposed to the virus, we can fully fight it,” said Dr. Vincent Venditto with the Uk College of Pharmacy. “We know there’s about 50 percent protection from that first dose but closer to 100 percent with that second dose.”

Dr. Venditto said emerging variants of COVID-19 are another reason it’s so important to make sure people are fully protected.

He also said everyone might need a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine each year.

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