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Troubling trend growing as more miss their second vaccine shot

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BATON ROUGE- As the state reaches new levels in vaccination numbers and supply, hospitals across the nation are facing a new issue.

"Over the past two weeks unfortunately we have seen an uptick in missed second dose appointments,” Raneesha Ford, director of pharmacy services at BRG said.

Baton Rouge General reports that earlier this month less than 5 percent of second dose appointments were missed, within the last two weeks that number has increased to 15 percent.

"It's worrisome because we know yes they are protected, between 70 and 80 percent, but it's not that 95 percent that we want everyone to have,” said Ford.

It's an issue not only in the capital area, but across the nation doctors are seeing the same problem. The CDC reports more than 5 million Americans aren't getting their second Moderna or Pfizer dose, totaling 8 percent.

Medical experts believe the troubling trend is due to a few things: lack of supply, fear of flu-like side effects and belief that one-shot is good enough.

"There are many people who feel protected with just the first dose and maybe have not been fully educated, and that the protection does not come until the second dose,” said Ford.

Ford also reminds those who haven't got their second shot, it's not too late,

"I definitely would recommend 42 days as recommended by the CDC and the manufacturers to get the second dose. If you go beyond that, still go back and get your second dose,” Ford said.

Adding the state won't reach herd immunity until vaccine sequences are complete.

"The only way to do that is to still follow the guidelines that are in place and for everybody to be vaccinated,” Ford continued, “It's not safe for us to be unmasked and not getting the second dose to be fully vaccinated.”

BRG says once a patient's first shot is complete, they are doing follow up and reminder calls to ensure people make that second appointment.

Doctors say they also tie that number to people getting their second vaccine at a different location than the first, which they don't recommend unless you have to.

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