STATEWIDE — Florida Department of Health Data shows that of the 1 million Floridians who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 so far, more than 40,000 are overdue for their second dose.

What You Need To Know

  • Officials say about 1 million Floridians have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine

  • Of those, about 40,000 are late getting their second dose

  • Infectious disease expert Dr. Sajid Chaudhary says being a little late should be OK

But one infectious disease expert says, running late for the second dose shouldn’t be a cause for concern, yet.

Pamela Peet got her first dose of the coronavirus vaccine at Orlando Health, and is eagerly awaiting her second.

She knows the second dose can come with some side effects, but she’s not letting that faze her. 

“I think it’s something we can all grin and bear, and be thankful we’re getting," said Peet.

More than 40,000 Floridians who’ve been vaccinated are late for their second dose, according to the Florida Department of Health.

However, whether it’s a matter of supply, fears about side effects, or something else, infectious disease expert Dr. Sajid Chaudhary says being a little late should be OK.

The first dose of the coronavirus vaccine produces antibodies against the virus, that last up to about 12 weeks.

So as long as the second dose falls within that first 12 weeks, or 3 months, after the first dose, “appproximately within that time period, if the body is challenged again, that should be enough to stimulate the memory cells," said Chaudhary.

If there’s any question about whether the doses did their job, Chaudhary said, “the most that they can do after their second dose, they can get their antibody level checked, and that will confirm that the antibody has been produced.”

As for the side effects of the second vaccine, "I don’t call it side effects," Chaudhary said. "I call it effect of the vaccine, because that confirms the your body is reacting to it.”

For Peet, a little pain is worth the long term gain.

“If I get the flu-like symptoms for a day or two, it sure beats getting into the hospital and getting hooked up into a ventilator and going through that, and all the repercussions of getting COVID," she said.​

It’s important to note that scientific data regarding the COVID-19 vaccine continues to evolve, so right now, Chaudhary said there isn’t enough evidence to suggest how much less effective your vaccination will be if you go more than 12 weeks between your first and second dose.