People worry new policies over COVID-19 vaccine may prevent them from getting second dose

ATLANTA — A new presidential administration means a new direction in the fight against the coronavirus.

President Joe Biden has said he hopes to speed up delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The administration wants to open up the supply and get the first shot to more people as quickly as possible, but some wonder if that means they will be waiting longer than anticipated for the second shot that is supposed to be administered a few weeks later.

For Lisa Karesh, getting the vaccine was a great way to start the new year.

“For a day or two, I was euphoric. I wrote my children, ‘I’m on the way!’”

As a Georgian over the age of 65, she was eligible to receive the drug.

“I got a shot! You were so… almost like, I don’t want to worry about anything else right now. I’ve got my shot,” Karesh said.

She told Channel 2′s Justin Wilfon that she is supposed to receive her second dose next week, but the registration email she was promised by Fulton County still hasn’t come.

“The Fulton County Board of Health, I guess the main doctors, just said I’ve got to have patience,” Karesh said.


The board told Wilfon that Karesh’s email will be coming, but she is concerned that a Biden administration policy could put more people in her shoes.

The plan calls for getting one dose of the vaccine to as many people as possible by using reserves that were initially intended only for patients’ second shot.

“Vaccinating as many people as possible is obviously critically important,” said Dr. Mark Cohen, chief medical officer at Piedmont Healthcare. “I do have concerns because we very much want to follow the science. And what I haven’t heard yet from the FDA or the CDC (is) if this approach is justified by the scientific data.”

The available data shows that receiving only one dose of the vaccine reduces the effectiveness.

A Pfizer trial showed an 82% effective rate after the first dose. Moderna’s came in at 80% effective after one dose.

The Biden administration believes the drug companies can speed up production, ensuring that most Americans receive their second dose on time.

“To get my life back and to not be tethered to my phone and go and do things, I’ll still wear my mask and do whatever they want me to do,” Karesh said.

In one of his first acts as president, Biden signed an order that includes what he calls a mask challenge to Americans to wear face coverings for the next 100 days. It is not a mandate.

There is a limited mask mandate in the order that only applies to people on federal lands or in federal buildings.