DPHSS doctor: It’s OK to delay 2nd vaccination dose

Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. (Moderna photo )

With COVID-19 vaccines for February running out to the point that the UOG clinic this Saturday had to be postponed, many residents still needing their second dose are becoming worried.

But Dr. Felix Cabrera, Public Health’s chief medical officer, has assured that it’s okay to have a delay in getting the COVID-19 second dose, whether Pfizer or Moderna.

“I want to be sure that everyone is clear that it’s fine to delay. The CDC is very clear that it’s perfectly acceptable to go up to about 42 days before taking your second dose,” Cabrera said during an interview with NewsTalk K57’s Patti Arroyo.

The doctor added that a little bit of delay might actually be a benefit in terms of further increasing your immunity.

He said the reason for this is that you’re giving your body a little bit more time to rest before being reexposed to the vaccine and you’re giving your immune system a chance to really ramp up and do what it needs to do to create that longer-lasting immunity.

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“I myself personally delayed my second dose. I have Pfizer and I delayed my second dose by one week. That was a personal choice I made and I felt extremely comfortable with it. I probably benefited from that little bit extra delay,” Cabrera said.

According to the doctor, there’s additional evidence now that some delay in the second dose is beneficial. He said AstraZeneca is saying that even a delay of three months is okay for its particular vaccine.

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“Right now, we’re utilizing that window that the CDC has given us to say that hey it’s okay to delay the second dose and if there’s a logistical reason why you need to have the second dose a little bit beyond what was scheduled, then that’s perfectly fine as long as you’re within that 42 days. And so I just want to reiterate that to assure those who may be anxious about not getting their second dose in time,” Cabrera said.

Although the February vaccine allocations for Guam is fast running out, Cabrera said GovGuam is getting a big allocation of vaccines next month.

The head of the White House’s vaccine distribution operation committed to increasing the island’s March allocation, bringing the month’s total to 35,260 vaccines.

The next batch of vaccines for Guam is expected to arrive the first week of March and will include 14,200 Moderna and 21,060 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.

Due to severe winter weather in the U.S. mainland, the allotment could not be advanced.

Cabrera said the March allotment is the largest Guam will receive since COVID-19 vaccines were made available in December 2020.