Dr. Mallika Marshall Discusses COVID Vaccine Hesitancy

According to a new CBS News poll, 22% say they absolutely will not get a vaccine.

Video Transcript

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- Well, tonight, a new poll by CBS is raising some questions about whether we'll ever get to herd immunity. The poll found that 6 in 10 Americans plan to get vaccinated or say they've had at least one dose. 18% say they may get vaccinated. But 22% say they absolutely will not get a vaccine.

WBZ's Dr. Malika Marshall joins us now live. And, Doctor, vaccine hesitancy maybe slightly lower. But there is still a sizable portion of the population that doesn't plan to get vaccinated. Why do you think that is?

MALIKA MARSHALL: Well, according to the poll, more than half of them say that these vaccines are just too new, that they kind of want to wait and see what happens. But let me remind you that almost 100 million people have been fully vaccinated here in the United States with very, very few complications.

Another concern raised were vaccine side effects. But, remember, if you are going to get side effects-- and not everybody does-- but if you do, things like arm pain, fatigue, headache, they only last for a couple of days. And that really should not be a reason to turn down the vaccines. We know that the effects of COVID can be much, much worse.

Another concern is obviously the blood-clot issue. And, yes, there is an unusual blood-clot disorder that has been associated with the J&J vaccine. But it's exceptionally rare. It almost exclusively occurs in women under the age of 50. And it has not been associated with the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccine. So, especially, if you're a younger woman, you can opt to get one of those instead.

And, just, I need to remind you that we've got to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible so that we can stay ahead of those variants and we can get back to doing those things we love without the fear of COVID-19 looming over us.

- And if it helps people, you're fully vaccinated, Doctor. I got my second shot yesterday. I feel good. It was pretty easy, actually.

MALIKA MARSHALL: Good.

- And, Doctor, the Biden administration is expected to relax the guidance on outdoor masks as early as tomorrow. Governor Baker said there's going to be some type of announcement this week on the Massachusetts mask rules. What do you think about relaxing the outdoor rules?

MALIKA MARSHALL: You know, I don't think it's a bad idea. We know that you are much less likely to contract the coronavirus if you're outdoors than if you're indoors, especially if you're vaccinated. So I think it's completely reasonable for the CDC to re-evaluate and give us some updated guidelines, saying that you might not need to wear a mask, but only if you are outdoors by yourself, or with family members, or other household contacts, or other vaccinated individuals, and you are able to keep a safe distance away from other people.

If you are in crowded conditions, even if you're outside, you still need to continue to wear a mask. And, I'm sorry, we're still, for the unforeseeable future, going to have to continue to wear masks when we're indoors in public spaces. But I think everybody's kind of excited to see what the CDC says so that if you're out walking your dog by yourself you don't necessarily need to wear a mask.

- All right, Dr. Malika. And by the way, are you rocking the AirPods?

MALIKA MARSHALL: I am! You never see them because my hair usually covers them up.

- So young and hip.

MALIKA MARSHALL: What do you think?

- Pretty cool.

MALIKA MARSHALL: So hip.

- Dr. Malika, thank you. And, as always, Dr. Malika offers her best advice. But you should consult with your personal doctor before making any decisions about your health. If you have a question for Dr. Malika, there are three ways to reach her, her email, DrMalika@cbs.com. On Twitter her handle is MalikaMarshall. Or you can Facebook Messenger, Dr. Malika Marshall. Lisa.