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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

Need 2nd COVID-19 vaccine dose? Doctor says don't panic if your dose is delayed

A second dose can be pushed to six weeks, and after that you can be tested to see if it's effective.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — If this winter weather pushed your COVID -19 vaccine to next week, or if you are one of thousands of people still waiting on your second doses, don't panic.

Infectious disease experts say you shouldn't worry - a short delay is okay.

While some Shelby County teachers braved the wintry weather to get a COVID-19 vaccine that was going to have to be discarded, the bad weather closed vaccination sites and delayed thousands of others from getting their shots. 

While people getting the Pfizer shot are supposed to get the second dose at three weeks and the second Moderna shot should be given at four weeks, Dr. Manoj Jain says that's the minimum amount of time. The second dose window can extend to six weeks. 

What happens if you pass the six-week mark without getting your second dose? Jain said your doctor has a way to make sure that second dose will be effective, but you won't have to start the process over. Jain said your doctor can do a blood test for antibodies after you get the second dose.

"If you are beyond that six weeks, the CDC is not recommending you restart the series," said Jain.

Jain said with just one dose, Pfizer is still 50% effective, and Moderna 80%.

"I do believe one shot will be sufficient to protect people from serious illness,  which is actually what we are looking for," said Jain.

RELATED: Vaccine deliveries, distribution hampered by extreme weather

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Jain said once the weather clears, getting those that missed their shots and those who are due their shots will be an undertaking, but added there is a possible silver lining in this storm.

"Less people are going to work and engaging in gathering, so all of that helps us in terms of reducing COVID cases and so forth," said Jain.