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Tens of thousands of Floridians overdue for second COVID-19 vaccine dose

COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna arrives at Baptist Health South Florida.jpg
Posted at 3:34 PM, Jan 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-18 17:40:08-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Many senior citizens are still struggling to land an appointment for their first COVID-19 vaccine, while tens of thousands of Floridians are overdue for second dose.

Eduardo Castro is a nurse practitioner on the Treasure Coast. His second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is scheduled for Feb. 3, but he said it's not a sure thing.

"I got my first vaccine on January 6th and that was the Moderna," Castro said. "The answer we got is we're hoping that they get one in time before you're due."

Castro still has a little more than two weeks, but according to the Florida Department of Health, nearly 41,000 people in the Sunshine State are overdue for their second dose of the vaccine.

"We have batches come in and all of a sudden they run out and they say we will get more in two weeks," said Dr. Leslie Diaz, an infectious disease specialist in Palm Beach County.

Dr. Diaz said many people are overdue because of the small supply of the vaccine, but also because some people fear the side effects are worse with the second shot.

"I think that we need to focus and prioritize on one thing and that is to fear the virus," Dr. Diaz said.

Dr. Diaz said the side effects are normal and not severe, and the virus is worse.

Both she and Castro warn that skipping the second shot means your vaccine will not be as effective.

"The benefits outweigh the risk here because, yes, you can be sick for a couple days, but you don't know how COVID is going to affect you," Castro said.

Dr. Diaz said the side effects can be treated with Tylenol and extra rest, and if you go beyond the 20 to 30 days between shots, she still advises you to get the second dose.