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What Happens If You Delay Second Dose of Vaccination

A sudden health issue, busy schedule, or lack of availability can lead to the delay of your second dose of COVID-19 vaccination. Here’s what can happen in such scenarios.

19 Nov 2021
  • Coronavirus vaccination
  • Informational
  • Health Insurance

Coronavirus vaccine: What happens if you delay your second dose of vaccination?

The COVID-19 disease that gripped the world during the early months of 2020 after the rapid spread of the COVID-19 variant had detrimental effects on the people and the economy. It led to the untimely death of millions of people across the globe and adversely affected the economy of many countries. In India, the number of deaths due to COVID-19 is more than 4 lakh to date. So, it is important to be covered with a good health insurance plan which can cover COVID-19 related expenses.

However, the situation has started to improve, and the death rates are declining, after the introduction of COVID-19 vaccines by different countries around the world. In India, the Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech released the two COVID vaccines labelled ‘Covishield’ and ‘Covaxin’, respectively. In January 2021, the Health Ministry of India started possibly the biggest vaccination drive anywhere across the world to vaccinate the Indian population against this disease. Vaccines have shown promising results in minimising the threat of the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease. The immune response to vaccines is so reliable that the public health department has started a mass drive to provide booster shots to frontline workers. The disease control and prevention departments are confident in the booster shots' effectiveness. However, the additional shots are only available to a selected group of people and will be made available to the general public following the authorisation or approval of the government.

Gaining immunity against the coronavirus requires a person to get two full shots or doses of the COVID vaccine. The second dose of Covaxin can be taken after 28 days of the first dose, whereas for Covishield, the time between the first and second doses should be at least 84 days. However, due to multiple reasons, many Indians have missed the timeline for taking the second dose of the COVID vaccine.

In this article, we will evaluate what can happen if you delay your second dose of COVID vaccination. But first, let’s look at some possible reasons that can lead you to miss your second dose of vaccine:

1. Health concerns

Some health concerns and recent complications can prevent you from taking your second dose of the COVID vaccine on time. As per the doctors, if you’ve contracted COVID-19 during the last two-month period, or if you are experiencing COVID-like symptoms presently, you should not take the vaccine shot.

2. Pregnancy

If you get pregnant after the first shot of COVID vaccination, your second shot might get delayed. Right now, there is not much data and additional information on how COVID vaccination can impact an expecting mother and the foetus. Hence, it’s advisable to consult your Ob-Gyn physician before taking your second vaccination dose during pregnancy.

3. Unavailability of vaccine

The unavailability of vaccine doses is one of the major reasons behind many Indians missing their second dose of COVID vaccination. Although the Government of India has initiated the biggest vaccination drive in our country, India's huge population means that we can't rule out inadequate vaccine supply.

4. Lockdown

The second wave of coronavirus in India was devastating. As a result, strict lockdowns were imposed by various state governments across the country, which prevented many people from going to the vaccination centres for taking their second jabs.

What if you miss your second dose of vaccination?

It’s never advisable to miss your second dose of COVID vaccination. You must positively try to get your second shot within the window mentioned in your vaccine certificate. If you fail to take the second shot, you may remain less protected from the deadly coronavirus. And in case you get infected with the virus, the chances are that the vaccine will not be effective.

As per a statement from the Former Head of the Indian Council for Medical Research, the first dose of the COVID vaccine only does the “Priming” job. It means that it creates a booster immunity in a person’s body against COVID-19. However, complete immunity is attained only after receiving the second dose of vaccine within a stipulated period.

Also, the partial immunity achieved from the first dose can diminish over time if the second dose is not taken. The majority of people who died after receiving their first dose died due to their vaccination being incomplete. Hence, it’s very important to get the two doses of COVID vaccination within the pre-determined period.

And if, for any reason, you miss your second dose of vaccine, visit the CoWin app or portal and schedule your appointment for your second dose of vaccination as early as possible.

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Gaining full protective benefits of COVID-19 vaccines require you to get two shots; and the timing between the two doses is crucial to maintain.

What is the period for taking the second vaccine shot?

The time after which you can take your second vaccination shot depends upon the vaccine you are taking. As per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the second dose of:

  • Covishield can be taken between 84 to 112 days after your first dose
  • Covaxin can be taken between 28 to 84 days after your first dose
  • Sputnik V can be taken after 21 days of your first dose

As per the Doctors of a National Committee formed to discuss this issue, those who miss their second dose of COVID vaccination need not repeat their first dose. However, they should get their second shot as early as possible.

To conclude

Delaying your second dose of vaccination can be dangerous. It can result in partial immunity and hence, fail to protect you from the deadly coronavirus. Many people are skipping vaccination because they think that the vaccines are not medically reviewed. The safety characteristics of the vaccines have been explained countless times on television by healthcare professionals. In case you miss your schedule for the second dose, you should get the shot as early as possible.

Even after both doses of vaccination, the threat of COVID-19 cannot be completely ruled out. Individuals dealing with any medical conditions such as lung cancer, kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, problem in blood vessels, or a family history of any critical disease are more likely to catch this virus. Coronavirus, in recent times, has become one of the leading causes of death.

To protect yourself against the hefty hospitalisation charges and treatment costs, you can get a health insurance policy known as Corona Kavach Policy from ICICI Lombard.

We also provide health insurance plans like Family Health InsurancePersonal Accident InsuranceHealth BoosterSaral Suraksha Bima, and Arogya Sanjeevani Policy, which offer you much needed financial assistance during any medical emergencies.

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