EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) — Nearly 63,000 people had received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine in El Paso as of Monday morning, according to data from the Texas Department of State Health Services. More than 13,000 had been fully vaccinated, meaning they received both doses.
Health experts urge the public not to relax safety measures after being vaccinated, especially after the first dose. The Chief of Infectious Diseases at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso said individuals only receive half the protection from the vaccine after their first dose.
“The booster effect of the second dose is so important that it’s not to be missed because it’s just not going to give you the effectiveness,” Dr. Armando Meza said. “That’s what you are going to get if you are going to get another dose.”
Dr. Meza also suggested the immune response from the virus would not last as long in individuals who declined the second dose.
Getting the second dose at the right time is also just as important. For the Pfizer vaccine, individuals are encouraged to get their second dose 21 days after their first. For the Moderna vaccine, individuals are urged to space doses by 28 days. The CDC has said individuals may get their second dose up to six weeks after their first. Dr. Meza said matching the guidelines as closely as possible is best.
“When there is any change in the schedule, the immune response is obviously not going to be the same as it was studied in the protocol, but it doesn't mean that you are not going to have any repsonse,” he said. “You’re still going to have a good response, but you should not deviate from the protocol because the results that are recorded are the ones that were produced when the dosage schedule was followed.”
Individuals who have received both doses should still follow safety precautions. The CDC also reported individuals may not receive full protection from the vaccine for a week or two after receiving their second dose.