Your Covid-19 questions answered

What happens if I miss my appointment to get the second jab?

16 September 2021 - 07:01
Over 7 million people have received their first dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine and over 4 million people have received their second dose
Over 7 million people have received their first dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine and over 4 million people have received their second dose
Image: Dwayne Senior/Bloomberg

More than 7-million people have received their first dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine and over 4-million people have received their second dose, according to the latest government statistics

The interval between the first and second dose is 42 days. The government decided on this interval after evidence showed older patients who delay the second dose of the vaccine have a much stronger immune response.

What happens if I miss my second dose?

The government's electronic vaccination data system (EVDS) will automatically reschedule you for the next appointment and send you an SMS with a date. 

“You will be given three opportunities - the original appointment plus two more appointments,” said the government.

“If you have not been able to make the scheduled appointments, you will have to call the Covid-19 helpline and ask to re-register.

“Your record of registration remains in the system but it will not know if you are on leave, away, ill-disposed or have died. So it waits for you to make contact.”

Why is getting the second shot important? 

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the second shot of the two-dose vaccines is essential for reaching full immunity against Covid-19. 

WHO scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan stressed that if one misses the second dose or if it's delayed by a day or a week, it's important to get it as soon as possible. 

“It's important to go back and get that second dose because the first dose actually presents this new antigen to the immune system to prime it. 

“And the second dose is the one that really gives a boost to the immune system so that the antibody response as well as T cell-mediated response are very strong and they also develop a memory response, which then lasts for a long time, so that when the body sees this antigen again, this virus protein again, it knows that it needs to react quickly.”


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