EL PASO COUNTY — Public health officials are working to find out more about why people continue to miss their appointments for the second dose of their COVID-19 vaccines.
El Paso County health officials say they don't have the numbers locally just yet, but it's enough of a concern that they're trying to get more information about why people are missing their shots. Some people say they're fearful of side effects from the second shot, while others may be having trouble finding time in their schedule or getting away from work to get it done.
"If we don't know the why as to why people aren't getting that second dose we can't fix that issue. So, we've done things in El Paso County like we are offering clinics that are early in the morning or that are later in the evening to better reach those folks who can't get off work, or have problems getting out in the middle of the day," said El Paso County Public Health Immunization Program Director Kristi Durbin.
The latest CDC data reports more than 5 million people across the country have missed their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. That leaves 8% of the inoculated population only partially vaccinated, that's up from 3.4 percent in March. As more people get vaccinated that number is expected to continue to climb.
Durbin stressed the importance of completing the vaccination process.
"We don't consider you fully vaccinated until, if you've received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine you have both doses and it's been two weeks from that second dose. So, if you just have one dose on your card we're not going to consider you fully vaccinated. So that's definitely something to consider. By getting fully vaccinated it's going open up a lot of opportunities for you," said Durbin.
Health experts say it's important that enough people are fully vaccinated to help reach herd immunity. Some doctors say they believe we are in good shape for this summer, but if people don't follow through with vaccinations it could bring a difficult winter and a possible resurgence of the virus.
Of course if you have the Johnson & Johnson vaccine you are done after just one shot.
If you missed your second Moderna or Pfizer shot, public health officials say you won't have to start this process over. They want to get people scheduled and fully vaccinated as soon as possible.
A good place to start if you're pursuing a vaccine would be the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's vaccine information page, which includes information on the pharmacy program, the community sites and list of every location — listed by county — where you can receive a vaccine.
As for the mobile vaccine clinics, the state is working on building a schedule for the buses, but for now you can look for availability near you at https://covid19.colorado.gov/vaccine/where-you-can-get-vaccinated#cvs