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There's a Grace Period for Your Second Vaccine Dose. OH Really?

Dr. Rebecca Stone was among the first batch of frontline healthcare workers to be vaccinated on Christmas Eve at Cleveland Clinic Akron General.
Dr. Rebecca Stone was among the first batch of frontline healthcare workers to be vaccinated on Christmas Eve at Cleveland Clinic Akron General.

As more Ohioans are vaccinated against COVID-19, you’ve still got questions about the timetable for each dose.

The vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna require a second dose after the first, and there’s a four-day grace period for that second dose.

A listener from Barberton asks, “what’s the significance of the grace period being four-days, and is it still safe and effective within that time?”

Ideastream Health Reporter Anna Huntsman says decades of research shows that our bodies need time to process any vaccine after a first dose.

“If you're a couple days late on getting your second dose, that's actually not a problem. That is just the number of days that they have determined that you’re not going to have a negative effect if you get your dose four days early. The problem with getting a dose too early is that your body maybe didn't have enough time to make the proper antibodies.

“The other thing I wanted to mention: they're not going to use that four day grace period to schedule your second dose either. They would go by the recommended interval; at least 21 days for Pfizer or least 28 for Moderna. The four days is only if there is an extenuating circumstance.

“A lot of providers aren't even scheduling them out right now because they just never know when they're going to get their shipments. You're likely not going to get your second dose exactly on that 21st day or that 28th day. A couple days late is not unsafe. And it's definitely still effective.”

Huntsman adds that a grace period is something the CDC recommends for most vaccines with multiple doses.

“OH Really?” is WKSU’s podcast which makes you part of the reporting process. Ask your question now!

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