HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- While many people feel a weight lifted getting fully vaccinated for COVID-19, there are still hundreds of thousands in Texas who are overdue for a second dose.
Texas Department of State Health Services said, as of April 25, 570,399 Texans who have their first shot are 43 days or more past due for the second. Harris County Public Health says approximately 88,000 people are overdue for their second dose, that accounts for about 5.2% of those vaccinated. Health officials stress it's not too late to get your second dose and you won't have to restart the series.
CDC officials explain missed second doses is expected with an increase in eligibility, but getting that follow-up shot of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine is important since they're meant to work together.
You're not fully vaccinated and will not get the maximum protection until you get both, experts say.
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What if I'm one of these "overdue" second dosers?
The health department said people who fall under this category can still get their second shot without starting the series over again. If it's 6 weeks after the first dose, it will still count.
Houston Health Department typically alerts people overdue primarily through phone calls, texts and emails.
What happens if people don't get their second dose? Not only are you not protected but it could allow the virus to spread more in the community.
"That allows the virus to continue to spread and it puts all of us at risk because the more spread, the more likely mutations develop," said Dr. David Callender, President and CEO of Memorial Hermann.
Is there any specific area or vaccination site with the most overdue people?
According to the health department, there has been no one particular site with a higher proportion of people who didn't go back.
Officials, though, advised that second shots provided by them are not necessarily scheduled at the same location where the first one was provided.
"When a person receives their vaccine through Harris County Public Health (HCPH), and is due for their second dose, a reminder is sent to them to schedule their appointment prior to their due date," Harris County Public Health wrote in a statement. "Individuals who have not received their second dose and are past their due date are constantly sent reminders via text messages and emails until they schedule and show up to their appointment."
You can go to NRG from noon to 9 p.m. seven days a week to get the vaccine. Appointments are preferred but no pre-registration is required.
If you are delayed for your second dose regardless of where you received it, you're asked to call 832-927-8787 or register at ReadyHarris.org.
More than 570K Texans overdue for 2nd COVID-19 vaccine shot