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Canceled 2nd Vaccine Appointment? How Long Can You Wait — And Where Can You Get It?

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — As Sutter Health cancels tens of thousands of appointments for second vaccine doses, many are wondering how long they can wait for a second dose and if they can get it somewhere else.

CBS13 is getting answers.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) guidance has required providers like Sutter to "use all first doses immediately and do not hold first doses for second doses."

Sutter says they rushed to get shots in arms based on the promise that the state would prioritize second doses when it was time. But that simply hasn't happened.

Sources tell CBS13 while Sutter has accurately requested the number of doses they need, data problems on the state's side led the state to believe Sutter had more second doses than they actually had.

In a statement, Sutter explained:

"To date, we have received more than 369,000 doses from state and county allocations and have provided almost 347,000 vaccinations and counting. Due to insufficient allocation from the state, we have paused all new vaccine appointments, canceled first dose appointments through March 9 and are canceling upcoming second dose appointments for all patients (which is inclusive of employees) until we receive additional supply."

Sutter currently has 90,000 second-dose appointments lined up but is in the process of canceling 40,000 of them between now and next week as they await the promised supply.

Sutter plans to call those patients back within 7-10 days to be rescheduled, which leaves another approximately 50,000 second-dose patients who are in danger of being canceled beginning March 10th.

How long can you wait to get your second dose?

In the meantime, this has many wondering how long they can wait for the second dose.

According to the FDA authorizations, the second dose of the Pfizer shot should be given three weeks after the first. The two doses of the Moderna vaccine should be given one month apart.

However, the CDC says, if unavoidable, the second dose of either vaccine can be administered up to six weeks — or 42 days — after the first.

Beyond that, there is simply not enough data to know if the vaccine will be effective.

Where can you get your second dose?

On Tuesday, CDPH told CBS13, "The second shot is shipped directly to their provider."

However, that doesn't appear to be happening right now.

On Wednesday, CBS13 asked if CDPH or Blue Shield would provide options for people who cannot get their second dose from their provider.

The state did not respond, instead reiterating a statement that it has been giving to various local media:

"Every provider, county, state and country wishes they had additional vaccines. Unfortunately, manufacturing capacity is the ultimate bottleneck. The state continues to work collaboratively with the federal government to seek additional vaccines."

While that statement does not provide guidance to the tens of thousands of Californians who are at risk of missing their second dose window, CBS13 has learned of other options.

At least one Sutter patient tells us they successfully got their second dose through a CVS pharmacy.

It's also worth checking with your local county to see if you can sign up for a second dose at one of their vaccine clinics.

However, today CBS13 asked Sacramento County Public Health (SCPH) if Sutter patients there could get their second dose at a county clinic.

SCPH explained that their current second dose allocation would not cover second doses for Sutter patients, adding, "SCPH would be happy to assist with dispensing second dose vaccines for those whose second dose at Sutter Health was canceled if the State provides the necessary additional doses in our allocation."

In the meantime, Sutter Health says they do anticipate more vaccines next week.

UPDATE March 5, 2021:

Sutter provided this updated statement Friday.

"In addition to the supply allocated by the state, many county and local health partners have given Sutter vaccine in recent days. This additional and unexpected supply, along with the state's commitment to provide approximately 60,000 doses over the next two weeks, allows us to reschedule those impacted patients, starting as early as this weekend. As long as we continue to receive sufficient supply, we anticipate being able to complete all second dose vaccinations well within the CDC's recommended timeframe. We may still need to reschedule some second-dose patients and will reach out to them in advance. Unfortunately, our scheduled first dose appointments remain on standby, and we are still unable to open new appointments. We're deeply appreciative of our local health partners for working with us to further our shared goal of vaccinating as many patients as possible in the 22 counties we serve."

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