Can the Pfizer vaccine second dose be more than 21 days later?
March 31, 2021 5:27 PM   Subscribe

Can the Pfizer vaccine second dose be more than 21 days later than the first dose? I have an important hearing I have to speak at on the day after my 2nd shot appointment and I don't want to leave my pro bono client in the lurch if I get side effects etc. Would it be fine to go for the vaccine at, say, 23 days after the first dose?
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em to Health & Fitness (18 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
cdc says up to 42 days between shots is acceptable if a delay is unavoidable.
posted by TheAdamist at 5:29 PM on March 31 [12 favorites]

I cannot find the cite, but yes. I had to switch mine from a Tuesday (21 days) to a Thursday (23 days). When I called the NYS hotline they told me to call them when I missed the 2nd appointment and they would immediately reschedule me. They were true to their word. There is about a 14 day range if I recall correctly.
posted by AugustWest at 5:30 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]

I had a conflict on my day 21, so the scheduler (in her official looking DHS sweater) just booked my follow-up for a few days after.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 5:31 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]

Or, what TheAdamist said.
posted by AugustWest at 5:31 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks -- I'd classify this as unavoidable as there isn't anyone who can easily cover for me. Appreciate the quick and helpful answers, all.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 5:32 PM on March 31

Mine was actually scheduled 23 days later and I wasn’t given a choice in the matter (though I had no problem with it!). Totally fine.
posted by Kosh at 5:33 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]

For some perspective, in most of Canada we'll be waiting 4 months between doses...
posted by mireille at 6:23 PM on March 31 [12 favorites]

Yep! Mine was 22 days after my first dose because that was the first they had available. As TheAdamist mentioned, up to 42 days is acceptable (in fact, 21 days is the minimum recommended time between doses, I believe, not a maximum).
posted by augustimagination at 6:25 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]

The UK is spacing Pfizer doses by 12 weeks. There is no problem with 23 days vs 21.
posted by caek at 6:30 PM on March 31 [9 favorites]

The issue with immunity is when it's too close- they research to find out when is the closet they can do the follow up.
posted by freethefeet at 6:49 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]

Yes! In fact, the further apart the better. Like with childhood vaccines, there is some discussion that spacing doses as far apart as 6 months would actually be ideal.
posted by EllaEm at 7:18 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]

Seems like you’ve got your answer, but in my area all Walgreens and Sutter sites are scheduling Pfizer 4 weeks apart automatically, for ease of scheduling with Moderna timeline!
posted by assenav at 8:36 PM on March 31

What assenav said, I just got my second Pfizer 28 days later from Walgreens for the same reason and I think I'm fine, thanks :)

I will also note that I am LITERALLY typing to you on day 2 and I have been totally fine all day, and the pharmacist said re: Pfizer, "Whatever happened to you on the first shot will happen to you on the second." If you had no effects the first time, probably not the second time either.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:40 PM on March 31

My husband had his first Pfizer shot here in the UK in late January, and is still waiting for his second. The 12-week gap is standard practice here, controversial in some quarters but there is good reasoning behind it. I wouldn't worry, in your place.
posted by altolinguistic at 5:11 AM on April 1

Unfortunately, no one knows. Every circumstantial evidence we have says that it will be fine, even beneficial, to wait. But there is 0 data on that, and there won't be. The vaccine producers deliberately made the interval as short as possible in order to complete the studies faster. That is the data we have. Fauci was asked about whether it would make sense to give everyone a first dose and then come back and do seconds, and his response was basically, there's no way to know based on the studies we have, we would really like to know, but by the time we do those studies the production problems will be over and the schedules won't matter. A bird in the hand being worth two in the bush.
posted by wnissen at 6:36 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]

Got my second 45 days later. As mentioned above, there is some evidence that this actually improves efficacy. I think they press hard to get people to get there second vaccination relatively quickly so that they WILL get their vaccination and not just let it go.
posted by jcworth at 7:46 AM on April 1

There is nothing 'magic' about the 21 day mark. We are scheduling people for 21 days with a 3? day window on either side of the 21 day mark, and this is considered 'equivalent' by some very smart people. There are lots of places who are stretching out beyond the 21 days by weeks or months, which is raising some concerns and questions but delaying by a couple of days is functionally identical to being exactly on 21 days. Thank you for helping people out in these tough times with Pro Bono work.
posted by Northbysomewhatcrazy at 9:58 AM on April 1

My second vaccination has been scheduled for four weeks/28 days after I'd gotten my first shot. When I asked the nurse if there would be any issues with getting the second shot over three weeks later, she replied that it's okay to get your second shot 3-6 weeks after you've received your first one (so that jibes with what TheAdamist said).
posted by gtrwolf at 7:56 PM on April 1

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