CONCORD — To all the people who have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and are waiting to get their second dose, the state has a message: keep an eye on your email.

Perry Plummer, part of the command team for the state’s vaccine rollout, acknowledged the issue of people who received their first dose of the vaccine but haven’t been able to book a second appointment within a timely manner. Those who were given the Pfizer vaccine should get a booster shot three weeks after their first shot, while the Moderna booster should be administered four weeks after the first.

Plummer said the state has experienced a problem with people registering appointments in an incorrect portal, which has led to confusion and complications. That was what happened with a website that was intended for employees of health care institutions that private individuals were able to access, incorrectly, and book appointments, only to have those appointments canceled when it was discovered that they were not employees.

Plummer said if the state had made public a site for scheduling booster shots, it could have resulted in a “compounding problem” with thousands of people in Phase 1B, which opened last Friday, booking appointments meant for 1A people seeking their booster shots.

About 200,000 people in Phase 1B have already booked their first dose now, and Plummer said the state will be reaching out to 1A vaccine participants on Friday.

“We let this wave go through, then we are opening up a link for our second dose appointments,” he said.

People who have already had their first dose should expect to receive an email on Friday – or a phone call if they scheduled their first appointment over the phone – informing them of the process for booking their booster shot. They should expect to receive a subsequent email some time thereafter with a link to a site where they will be able to schedule an appointment.

“Rest assured, the second doses are there and they will be able to get in in a timely manner,” Plummer said. He said  people should be able to schedule their booster shot within a week or so of the timeline recommended by the vaccine manufacturers and the FDA.

Responding to an inquiry, a spokesperson from the FDA said that both mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are approximately 95% effective when both doses are administered in the proper doses and at the proper time.

“The FDA recognizes that getting as many people as possible across the country fully immunized will help to curtail the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 and should be a priority. Modest delays in the administration of the second dose, if absolutely necessary, would not be expected to decrease the protection conferred by the 2nd dose and are preferable to not completing the 2-dose series,” the spokesperson said.

Plummer noted that 99% of the people who registered for vaccines so far have had a successful experience. “We’re working really hard on that one percent to fix their problems… Obviously, we’re committed to fixing every problem with every citizen until they’re all situated,” Plummer said. “If they’ve had their first dose and they don’t get an email in the next 48, they should call 2-1-1 and let them know.”

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