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VERIFY: It's suggested, but not mandatory for vaccine providers to provide both doses

Is it mandatory for the provider of your first dose, to schedule your second? Let’s verify.

WASHINGTON — Do you know those people who have been waiting outside of vaccine locations at night to get any leftover doses? They’re called vaccine chasers.

Well, one viewer says that’s how they got their first dose, but when it came time to schedule their second shot the pharmacy told them they couldn’t do it. Is that allowed? 


Is it mandatory for the provider of your first dose, to schedule your second? Let’s verify.


No, but it is highly suggested


- Centers for Disease Control

- Maryland Department of Health

- Dr. Kelly Gebo, Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University

- Dr. Gabe Kelen, Director of Johns Hopkins Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response and the Director of Emergency Medicine for Johns Hopkins Medicine


According to the CDC it’s not mandatory for first dose providers to also provide the patient with their second shot, but rather a suggestion “to ensure patients receive the appropriate second dose.” 

The Maryland Department of Health agrees. In a statement provided to WUSA9 they said “To the extent possible, a provider shall schedule an individual's second dose at the time of the first dose.” 

Dr. Gebo says the reason it isn’t mandatory is that people aren’t always able to go back to the original location.

"There are people who move, there are people who relocate there are reasons that people can't get the doses at the same location," Gebo said.

RELATED: VERIFY: What you need to know about the COVID vaccine, before and after the shot

So what about our viewer that received their first dose and was denied a second appointment? There’s a claim saying they should be able to sign up for a dose through any vaccine provider because the doses are chemically the same. But is that true?


Are the first and second doses of the vaccine chemically the same? 




Drs. Kelen and Gebo agree that the 1st and second doses of the vaccines are the same.

"It's manufactured the same exact same ingredients the exact same," Dr. Kelen said.

"Yes, they should be identical and are used interchangeably," according to Dr. Gebo.

According to Dr. Gebo, if somebody received their first dose, but wasn't able to sign up for a second dose through the same provider, they could go to another location and sign up as if it were their first dose. 

 "You could get the "first" dose at a second location if that's easier for you because it works out for your personal schedule," Gebo said. 

So we can verify, no, it is not mandatory for the first dose provider to provide you your second dose, but it is highly suggested. We can also verify that, yes, the first and second doses are chemically the same. If the provider of your first dose didn’t give you an appointment for your second dose you can sign up for an appointment at another location. 

RELATED: VERIFY: Should you wait to get the COVID-19 vaccine if you're currently sick?

HOW TO ASK MORE VACCINE QUESTIONS: Have questions? Text the Verify team at 202-895-5599 or shoot us an email at VERIFY@WUSA9.COM. You can also fill out the contact form below which goes straight to the Verify team. 

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