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VERIFY: How late is too late for that second COVID-19 dose?

A WCNC Charlotte viewer asked whether it's OK to get their second Pfizer shot six months later, even though the recommended window between doses is three weeks.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — While the current vaccine focus in the U.S. is booster shots for more groups, some Americans still have not gotten their second doses yet.

According to CDC guidance, a person is not considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 until they get both doses of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

For those who delayed that second shot, maybe even weeks or months past the recommended window, has the opportunity to do so passed?

A WCNC Charlotte viewer recently texted in a question about those vaccination timeframes: "[I] only received the first Pfizer shot of the vaccine six months ago. Can I get the second shot now six months later?"

The Question

Is it OK to get the second COVID-19 shot after the recommended timeframe passes?


The Answer

This is true.

While it is recommended that a person stick to the official vaccination timeframe, it is OK to get the second mRNA COVID-19 shot after that timeframe passes.

A reminder: The recommended spacing for Pfizer's two doses is 21 days -- or three weeks -- apart. That means the viewer who reached out is months past that window.

Bell said, while not ideal, it is fine for that person to continue on with their second shot as soon as possible.

"If you fail to get the second dose in the recommended timeframe, you can go ahead and get it now, even if, you know, weeks and weeks have passed," Bell said. "There's really not a maximum timeframe for the initial two doses."

The CDC writes the same in its guide on how to handle deviations from official vaccination guidance.

It states that those getting a second mRNA dose late do not have to repeat the series. The agency writes, "there is no maximum interval" for spacing out shots.

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