Elderly patient experiences trouble getting second COVID-19 vaccine

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It’s been a little more than a month since the elderly have been able to get the first dose of the COVID vaccine, but now that it’s time for them to get their second dose and many said they’re having troubles getting that done.

“I’m by myself and I’m afraid,” said Reace Page.

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Page will turn 80 in March. He said in early January he got his first shot of the Moderna vaccine from the Shelby County Health Department.

“My daughter got me signed up, and I went to the Pipkin Building for my appointment time. From the time I left to the time I got the vaccine and back home was 45 minutes. The Pipkin Building is a 30-minute drive from here. It couldn’t have gone any better,” said Page.

He said things have not been as easy with the second dose because he experienced issues with confusing times and dates on his vaccine card.

“I don’t know what that second line means, and the people at the health department don’t know either. I talked to them this week, and they don’t know,” Page explained.

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The card showed that his expiration date is before the date of his second dose, so he called around to other hospitals to see if he could finish his vaccination.

“I called Baptist to see if they could work me in after telling them my conditions. They said yes, and that they have Pfizer vaccine. ‘That’s the only one we have.’ I said, ‘Well, I have Moderna.”

According to the CDC, the second dose of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines may be administered up to 42 days after the first shot. That first dose primes the immune system, while the second dose induces an immune response and the production of antibodies.

“I need to have the second dose, I know that and I’m not able to get it here,” he said.

He said he may have to go out of the county to Tipton County to get his second dose.

The Shelby County Health Department is closed but said they’re doing everything they can to help get everyone vaccinated.