WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Trump administration announced sweeping changes Tuesday to the coronavirus vaccine rollout, releasing reserved second doses immediately.
The administration said this is all to boost the lagging number of vaccinations that occurred in the first month.
Kathy Stone is among the 350,000 seniors who have received the first dose of the vaccine.
"The little bit of soreness in your arm, but other than that absolutely [no side effects]," Stone said.
The registered dietician from Boca Raton said she traveled to Broward County to get the first shot. She received a date to return Feb. 5, at which time she hopes the second dose will be there for her.
"Because they scheduled it, you have some level of confidence. But at the same time, you hear about particularly Gov. (Ron) DeSantis saying they want to get it all out there and not worry some much about the second dose," Stone said.
At the Villages Tuesday, DeSantis said the state has 250,000 more doses, and he is pressing for more.
Incoming President Joe Biden has promised to release more vaccine doses in the federal stockpile, and President Trump did release more doses under pressure from states.
"You can delay the second shot, but you can't say are you as protected as the people who got two shots," said Dr. Larry Bush of the Palm Beach County Medical Society.
Bush worries about having enough doses for the second vaccine shot -- a key part of ending the pandemic since the effectiveness of the vaccine in trials was based on the second shot.
The vaccines currently available from Pfizer and Moderna have a 95% efficacy based on the two shots, Bush said.
"The problem is if you delay the second dose, I think it will decrease the amount of people who show up for the second dose, and secondly, you give them a false sense of security saying, 'Well, you have 95 percent protection,' because that's what the trial said. The trial didn't say that it said two weeks after the second dose," Bush said.
Bush said health care workers in Palm Beach County are scheduled to start receiving their second shot next week, and hospitals have been assured they will have the doses.
The head of the Department of Health and Human Services said vaccine production is now predictable enough that they can guarantee that second dose.
Officials with Moderna said its vaccine should give people at least a year's worth of protection from COVID-19.
The two doses of the vaccine are given about a month apart.
The company will test to see if a third dose of the vaccine will result in longer protection.