BELL COUNTY, TEXAS — It’s no secret getting vaccinated against COVID-19 usually means two separate appointments, weeks of waiting and one sore arm.
However, the CDC says over 5 million Americans who received a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine aren’t completing the job and skipping out on their second dose.
“With getting that second dose, you're really getting your immune system into top shape,” Dr. Amy Mersiovsky, director of nursing at Texas A&M University Central Texas. “To hunt that COVID-19 down and fight it, should you come in contact with it.”
But the question that remains, is why skip out on the second dose? Mersiovsky explained that there may be a few reasons for that.
“I think it's been a little bit of scheduling and I think it's been a little bit of access, I think it's been a little bit of hesitancy,” she said.
Scheduling issues seem to be a huge problem, according to Kelly Craine with the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District.
“This is the group that works,” she said. “This is the group that has families that take care of themselves and so it's just a little bit more difficult to find the time to get that second dose.”
In Bell County, about 29% of folks over the age of 16 received their first doses, while about 20% are fully vaccinated.
In McLennan, the numbers are similar, sharing a near 9% difference between those who received both their first and second doses.
“As a Health District, we're looking at ways that we can make it easier for people that work,” Craine said. “That includes Saturday clinics, that includes after hours clinics or after five o'clock clinics.”
While the light at the end of the tunnel might seem near, both healthcare professionals say we can’t let up now.
“I know that the infections have gone down, but COVID is still there and still making people pretty sick,” Mersiovsky said.