Fewer Maryland residents are skipping their second COVID-19 vaccine shot than in just about any other state in the nation, according to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released on Tuesday.

The report found that just 1.7% of people failed to return for a second dose of their Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.

That was the seventh lowest rate in the United States, well below the national average of 3%.

The CDC defines a missed second dose as one that hasn’t been administered within 42 days of the first.

The recommended interval between doses is 21 days for Pfizer-BioNTech and 28 days for Moderna, the agency said. Up to 42 days between doses is permissible when a delay is “unavoidable.”

Both vaccines have extraordinarily high rates of success in protecting people from COVID-19, well above 90%. Although the first shot offers significant protection, people need the second to receive maximum protection, public health experts have said.

“We have a robust system in which we are reminding people” to return for the second shot, said Maryland Deputy Health Secretary Bryan I. Mroz in an interview.

“We fully utilize all of the both print and electronic methods to remind people of their appointments, and they’ve responded,” he added.

The newly-released Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires a single shot. Although it has a slightly lower effectiveness rate, the lack of a follow-up visit is a plus, particularly for certain populations, health officials have said.

Louisiana has the lowest reported number of missed second doses in the nation, at 0.9%.

Kentucky (5.4%), Massachusetts (6.6%) and Virginia (7.8%) have the most missed second doses in the nation.

By Bruce DePuyt