11,000 people are missing their second vaccine dose in Latvia

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Around 11,000 people have not returned for a required second Covid-19 vaccine dose after having a first dose, reports Rus.LSM.lv, citing information from the National Health Service (NVD).

The NVD explained there were a number of reasons for people not receiving a second vaccine shot. 

"There are situations when, unfortunately, there are people who received the first dose and then passed away. Not because of the vaccine, but because of age or illness. There are [also] cases of people getting sick with Covid-19 soon after the first dose, especially in the Spring. They had to wait a set time and only now can get a second dose. Some people were waiting for the moment when mixing of different vaccines might be allowed - if the first was AstraZeneca, then the second could be by Pfizer or Moderna,” said Inga Vasiljeva, a representative of the NSA Vaccination Project Division.

At the same time, the NSA did not hide the fact that there were also people who simply changed their mind about continuing vaccination after receiving the first dose. "Yes, there are people who have had quite serious side effects and they do not know if this is normal or not, and are skeptical about the second dose and whether there will be more serious side effects," Vasiljeva said.

So far, no one has been chasing up those with missed second vaccinations, but within a month, the NVD plans to start doing so.

"For certain vaccines - Pfizer or Moderna - it is very important that the second dose is not given sooner than a certain period of time. Of course, this period can be a little longer than written in the instructions,” Vasiljeva explained.

The NSA also stressed that a single dose of the AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Moderna vaccines did not provide adequate protection against Covid-19.

Currently, four Covid-19 vaccines are approved for use in the European Union: Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson (Janssen), but AstraZeneca is no longer used in Latvia due to low demand. The Janssen vaccine requires only one dose, the others require two.

A weekly record for vaccination was set for the week of May 24, when 116,876 people were vaccinated. But in mid-September, the vaccination rate fell to 31,000 people a week. Despite the slowing pace of the vaccination effort, the National Health Service estimates  that even at the current rate, 75% of the population will have been vaccinated against Covid-19 by the end of the year.

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