FAYTTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Health experts say getting the COVID-19 vaccine shot makes the vaccine at least 90% effective against the virus, but the turnout for those shots in Arkansas is not where it should be.

According to the Arkansas Department of Health, 11% of Arkansans are not showing up for their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. This is above the national average of 8.6%.

“We are making phone calls to people who are beyond 42 days after getting their first dose of Pfizer and Moderna,” said state epidemiologist, Dr. Jennifer Dillaha.

Dr. Dillaha said the goal for the ADH is to help anyone concerned about the second vaccine.

If there are barriers we can address to make it easier for them to get those second doses, we certainly would want to know about that so we can address them.”

-DR. JENNIFER DILLAHA, STATE EPIDEMIOLOGIST

This means calling people to remind them of their second shot, providing information about where to get it and asking what might be holding them back.

“The primary reason people may not show up to their second dose is the concern over potential side effects where the side effects may interfere with their daily lives,” said Brenna Neumann with Collier Drug.

Neumann said she has seen firsthand fewer people showing up for their second dose in northwest Arkansas, but she encourages people to get it, even if it has been a while since the first shot.

“Up to six weeks is ideal, however, there’s no recommended maximum interval- meaning if they don’t get their second dose within the recommended six week time frame, there’s no recommendation currently to restart the series,” Neumann said. “So basically, obtain the second dose as soon as possible.”

Neumann adds there is plenty of opportunity to get that second dose. She said you do not necessarily have to get it at the same clinic or pharmacy you got your first shot, it is just important to get the same type vaccine.