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5M Americans have missed second vaccine dose: report

More than 5 million Americans have missed getting their second coronavirus vaccine dose, indicating a growing trend that could endanger the U.S.’s efforts to return to normalcy.

The New York Time reports that the rate of people missing their second dose of the Pfizer of Moderna vaccine has more than doubled since the beginning of the national vaccine rollout. Five million people accounts for about 8 percent of those who received a first dose of the Prizer or Moderna vaccine.

Several people interviewed by the Times said they were afraid of the vaccine's side effects, while others told the newspaper they felt protected by one dose.

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But some patients were unable to get a second dose due to issues with vaccine availability, the Times reported. 

Several people who got their vaccines at Walgreens told the Times that after their first dose, they were sent to a pharmacy that carried a vaccine from a different company. Some were able to get the proper vaccine in time, but others gave up.

Jim Cohn, a spokesman for Walgreens, told the Times that this problem accounted for "a small percentage" of the people who were vaccinated through the pharmacy chain, adding that 95 percent of people who got vaccinated at Walgreens received their second dose.

Two of the three coronavirus vaccines being administered in the U.S. require two doses. A third, from Johnson & Johnson requires only one dose.

A single shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine induces a significantly weaker immune response than the two doses. One dose will provide some protection, but it will not be as robust and may not protect against the COVID-19 variants that are spreading around the world and in the U.S.

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The Times notes that many state government have dedicated resources specifically to target this issue. South Carolina has set aside thousands of vaccine doses for people who are overdue for the second shot while Arkansas and Illinois have set up teams to remind people to get their second dose.

However, the newspaper points out that the overall rate of following through with a second dose is still quite high at 92 percent.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),more 138 million people in the U.S., or nearly 42 percent of the population, have received at least one dose of a vaccine.  Just over 93 million people are fully vaccinated, accounting for 28 percent of the U.S. population.

Health experts have said that in order to reach herd immunity in the U.S., 70 to 75 percent of the population will have to immunized. The nation's leading infectious disease expert Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health Care: Takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision | COVID-19 cost 5.5 million years of American life | Biden administration investing billions in antiviral pills for COVID-19 Ex-Trump doctor turned GOP lawmaker wants Biden to take cognitive test White House officials won't say if US will meet July vaccine goal MORE has said the percentage could be between 70 to 90 percent.