Federal officials say millions of Americans are failing to get their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Officials say skipping out on the dose leaves many vulnerable to contagious strains, but it’s also putting a strain on area health departments.
While more than half of all Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine, officials say far fewer are fully vaccinated. In some cases, it’s been a struggle to fill appointments.
In Hamilton County, Indiana, officials say they’re seeing about 50 people per day not showing up for appointments. That means those doses often go to waste.
Officials say they’re trying to predict how many they need to preserve the supply.
“When we pull out vaccines, the clock starts as to when the vaccine is no longer viable. So we have to try and predict how many doses we are going to give in a day,” said Christian Walker with the Hamilton County Health Department.
“If people start not showing [up], we run the risk of wasting vaccines as well.”
Across the U.S. as supply exceeds demand, officials say there’s calls for the U.S. to possibly share vaccines with other nations.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccine require two doses. Officials say the two doses may not be enough to keep people vaccinated over time.
Researchers say a booster shot is likely needed within the next year.