Louisiana, Indiana Have Lowest Rates of Missed COVID-19 Vaccine Second Doses

Louisiana and Indiana are among the states with the lowest rates of missed second doses during the first two months of COVID-19 vaccinations, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

[READ: Montana, Utah, Michigan Among States to Expand COVID-19 Vaccine Access]

The CDC conducted analyses among people who initiated either vaccination series — Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, the first two COVID-19 vaccines approved and distributed — between Dec. 14, 2020, and Feb. 14, 2021, with doses reported to CDC through Feb. 20. Overall, 88% of people who started the series received both doses in that two-month period, and 8.6% hadn’t received a second dose but remained within the allowable interval.

Only 3.4% of people missed their second shot completely, meaning they surpassed the 42-day maximum length between first and second doses. The recommended interval between shots is 21 days for Pfizer-BioNTech and 28 days for Moderna.

The numbers vary state by state. Louisiana had a missed second-dose rate of under 1%, with more than 94% of people fully completing the vaccination series. Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi and Wisconsin were not far behind; all had missed-dose rates under 1.5%. West Virginia — a state that had early success in vaccinating its residents quickly — had the highest rate of completed inoculations in the first two months, at nearly 96%.

Maryland was among the 10 states with the lowest percentages of missed second doses (1.7%). Bryan Mroz, Maryland’s deputy health secretary, told Maryland Matters that the state has “a robust system” with “both print and electronic methods” to remind people to return for the second shot.

Virginia, on the other hand, had the highest rate of missed second doses (7.8%) among all states. Massachusetts, Kentucky, Kansas and Illinois had the next highest rates — at least 5% each. These five states also had relatively high rates of people who had not yet received their second dose but remained within the allowable time interval.

These numbers from the CDC don’t necessarily align with the overall success of COVID-19 vaccinations across states. Alaska, New Mexico, South Dakota and North Dakota — in that order — have the highest percentages of people that are fully inoculated as of March 16, according to CDC data compiled and analyzed by USAFacts. But none of them were in the top 15 of states with the lowest rates of missed second doses, according to the March 15 CDC report. New Mexico saw more than 4% of people miss their second doses between mid-December and mid-February, but the state also has the second-highest percentage of fully vaccinated residents — behind only Alaska — as of March 16.

[MORE: Q&A: How Alaska Is Leading in COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts]

The CDC did observe some disparities among demographic groups in its report. Non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native people had the highest rate of missing the second COVID-19 vaccine dose (5.1%) among those who reported their race or ethnicity. Adults aged 65 and older had the lowest vaccine series completion rate (87.2%) among the different age groups, but also had the lowest percentage of missed second shots at 2.3%.

“Public health officials should identify and address possible barriers to completing the COVID-19 vaccination series to ensure equitable coverage across communities and maximum health benefits for recipients,” according to the report. “Strategies to ensure series completion could include scheduling second-dose appointments at the first-dose administration and sending reminders for second-dose visits.”

[MAP: States’ Progress on Administering the COVID-19 Vaccines]

The report cautions that while it is reassuring that a high percentage of people who received a second dose did so within the recommended time interval, the fact that the groups prioritized to receive a vaccine during the first two months — such as health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities — were more likely to be vaccinated at their workplace or residence “might have facilitated adherence to the recommended schedule.”

“As priority groups broaden, adherence to the recommended dosing interval might decrease,” the report reads.

More from U.S. News

States’ Progress on Administering the COVID-19 Vaccines

Montana, Utah, Michigan Among States to Expand COVID-19 Vaccine Access

Q&A: How Alaska Is Leading in COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts

Louisiana, Indiana Have Lowest Rates of Missed COVID-19 Vaccine Second Doses originally appeared on usnews.com

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