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Polk County Health Department reacts to Iowans not getting 2nd vaccine dose

"We know there's two doses for a reason," said Nola Aigner Davis with the Polk County Health Department. "That second dose gives you that boosted immunity."

POLK COUNTY, Iowa — Local 5 News: Not everyone is getting that vital second dose for their Pfizer and their Moderna series. In fact, the CDC reports roughly five million people in the U.S. may have missed their second dose within that recommended timeframe. So are you seeing that here in Polk County?

Nola Aigner Davis, Polk County Health Department: I think all over the United States including Iowa and Polk County, we have been seeing people skipping their second dose. And we know that it is incredibly vital for him. We know that it is incredibly vital for people to get the second dose because that's what completes the series. 

We know there's two doses for a reason. That second dose gives you that boosted immunity. So it's incredibly important for our community to get their second dose.

Local 5: Now we know some people are purposefully forgoing that second dose, they believe that the first one is simply good enough. But for people who forgot about their second dose and they still want it, can they just come in and get a second one? Or do they have to start the whole series over?

Aigner Davis: They do not have to start the whole series over. We like people to get that second dose within the 21-day with Pfizer, the 20-day with Moderna, but they will not have to start [the series] over again. So they can just get the second dose and be done with it.

Local 5: And what if they got the Moderna, Pfizer first dose and forgot about it? Can they get the Johnson & Johnson shot then as their second dose? Or do they need to stick with the same brand? 

Aigner Davis: You need to stick with the same brand. So if you've gotten Pfizer get a Pfizer, if you've gotten a Moderna get a Moderna. If you got that one-time Johnson & Johnson, you're good to go.

Local 5: And what are the plans for Polk County to do walk-in clinics, no appointment necessary like we're seeing at Hy-Vee now and some other locations?

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Aigner Davis: So we're continuing to do our vaccination pre-registration ahead of time. We know that there's a lot of our community partners that are continuing to do walk-in. So again, we work really hard and closely with our partners. So they're doing walk-ins. 

Now we will continue to promote that. As of right now we don't know what the future looks like. Will we do walk-ins? Are we still doing pre-register? Right now we're still making sure that our clients are pre-registered ahead of time for the vaccine.

Local 5: And we have been seeing demand drop at some of the more rural counties. In fact, 80 of the 99 counties in Iowa refused some or all of their vaccine shipment recently. So is Polk County on that track as well?

Aigner Davis: We continue to vaccinate as many people that want to be vaccinated. Our whole goal right now is anybody who wants to be vaccinated will be vaccinated. And we'll continue to make sure do so until everyone is.

Local 5: And are you still seeing demand pretty high even as we're heading into summer and people are getting a little distracted with the nice weather?

Aigner Davis: We are still seeing demand. I think it's really, incredibly important that if people have plans for this summer that they get vaccinated. We know that everyone wants to go back to summer vacations, summer sports, going to the pool. But the only way that you can do this safely is to get vaccinated and get two doses of that vaccine.

I mean we look at Pfizer and we look at Moderna and they're both in the 90s. Moderna is 94%, Pfizer's 95% effective. I mean, that is incredible for a vaccine. So the best way that you can have a great summer is by getting vaccinated.

Local 5: And just to remind people at home, you're still asking us all to remain vigilant, correct?

Aigner Davis: Absolutely. We know that there are a lot of different variants into play. And we don't know what it looks like if we're not getting vaccinated.

So your best form of protection is get vaccinated. We don't know who is vaccinated, so your best protection against everyone else is wearing a mask, just social distancing. And if you're sick, stay home.

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