By Keith Jones

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Unequivocally, health experts say you should get the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

“Get the second shot to complete the vaccination series. It’s the best measure we have of preventing you getting into the hospital or dying,” said Dr. Joshua Lenchus, the chief medical officer at Broward Health.

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Many people have questioned if the first dose of either two-dose vaccine offers 80% efficacy, what’s the point of the second dose?

Dr. Lenchus said hold on, because the 80% efficacy after one shot hasn’t been proven.

“They do have some protection. The data’s a little out. The protection is somewhere between 50- and 80% protection,” he said. “There’s no science right now that tells you how long that antibody level remains at a significant clip to the point that it will be protected.”

Dr. Lenchus said science shows after two shots of Pfizer or Moderna you’re protected for at least six months, up to 94%.

But there are many reports of people having severe reactions after the second shot.

That’s lead some to be apprehensive about getting shot number two.

“Some of these reactions can be avoided by giving it in another arm, a different location. There are some components in the vaccine that we need to look at before giving that second shot,” Dr. Lenchus said.

Then there are those who are immunocompromised who may fear a reaction with the vaccines.

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Dr. Lenchus said the alternative of not getting the vaccine and getting COVID could be far worse than a severe reaction to a second dose.

And even if you have a reaction after the first dose, it’s still beneficial.

“If they do have an allergic reaction to one of the components after the first dose, the CDC does recommend not getting that second dose. To your point initially, some protection is better than none,” he said.

Per filling out paperwork to get the shot, it asks if a patient has ever experienced anaphylaxis.

Dr. Lenchus said that type of reaction is super rare and inoculation sites are prepared for that.

“We do monitor them for 30 minutes to be on the safe side. Most anaphylactic reactions occur within the first 15 minutes as documented with Pfizer and Moderna,” he said. “But we take that extra precaution by taking that extra 30 minutes.”

For those thinking “I don’t want to deal with side effects, and I’m 50% to 80% covered by one dose,” Dr. Lenchus advises that side effects only last a couple of days at most.

The potential alternative could be much worse.

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“Having lived this for the last 14 months and seeing the people that have suffered significant injury and death in the hospital, I would recommend people not try to skimp at this stage in the game and just getting one shot,” he said.