COVID-19 Resource Center

COVID-19 Resource Center


Healio Interview.

Disclosures: Zeikel reports no relevant financial disclosures.
July 06, 2021
2 min read

In US, 11% of people have missed second COVID-19 vaccine dose


Healio Interview.

Disclosures: Zeikel reports no relevant financial disclosures.
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Potentially millions of people in the United States who received the first dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine have not returned for their second shot, according to data shared by the CDC.

Chandra Zeikel, a spokesperson for the CDC’s Vaccine Task Force, told Healio that CDC data on vaccine completion showed that 89% of people with sufficient time to get second doses have received their second dose as of June 16.

COVID19 vaccine vials
Less than 90% of people in the United States have gotten their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Source: Adobe Stock.

The Washington Post reported that this equates to approximately 15 million people who have missed their second dose.

According to Zeikel, the proportion of people who have returned for a second dose has declined slightly from 92% reported earlier this year. Zeikel noted one limitation of the CDC analysis, however: If a person received the two doses in different places, they may not have been linked together.
For example, if a person received their first dose at a clinic run by the state and their second dose from a tribal health clinic, they might not be linked, and it could look like they missed the second dose,” Zeikel said.

“Overall, this increase in missed second doses was expected as eligibility and access has expanded,” Zeikel continued. “The groups initially prioritized for COVID-19 vaccination were more likely to have been vaccinated at their work site — health care workers — or residence — long-term care facilities — potentially reducing barriers and increasing adherence to the recommended vaccine schedule.”

Zeikel said the reasons behind delayed or missed second doses require further analysis and that public health officials and providers are encouraged to work to better understand whether missed doses or delays are due to access or vaccine hesitancy.

As of July 4, more than 157 million Americans — 47.4% of the total U.S. population — are fully vaccinated, and nearly 182.5 million have received at least one dose, according to CDC tracking.

Zeikel said getting second doses to people is “critical.”

“Ensuring second-dose completion of the vaccine is critical in helping to protect people from COVID-19,” Zeikel said. “Jurisdictions can work with providers to prioritize administering second doses over initiating first doses — for vaccines that require two doses — reschedule appointments for canceled clinics, repurpose missed second doses, and promote the importance of receiving a second dose for the best protection.”


Anders C. 15 million people in the U.S. have missed their second dose of the coronavirus vaccine, CDC says. Washington Post. July 2, 2021. Accessed July 6, 2021.

CDC. COVID-19 vaccinations in the United States. Accessed on July 6, 2021.