WBZ-TV's Dr. Mallika Marshall answers your COVID questions
- Well, many of you continue to reach out to us with your coronavirus questions. And WBZ is the only local TV station with a doctor on staff. And that is Dr. Mallika Marshall, right on cue. She joins us now live. Doctor, the first question is from Barbara who writes, "a lot of us are not getting the vaccine because we still have to wear masks and such. Tell me I can go to an indoor concert without a mask, and I'll be happy to get the vaccine." What are your thoughts there, doctor?
MALLIKA MARSHALL: In due time, Barbara. I mean, as you know, the CDC just loosened its mask guidelines, saying that people who are fully vaccinated can do a lot more things outdoors. So for example, you can go and walk your dog, you can go to an outdoor restaurant, you can have a small barbecue in your backyard with other vaccinated people.
Of course, if you are outdoors in a crowd, or you are in proximity with people who have not been vaccinated, you still are expected to wear masks. But I think we will get to a point where people who are vaccinated can safely be indoors with other vaccinated people, watching, for example, and indoor concert. So please go ahead and get vaccinated so you are ready to go.
- All right. Our next question comes from Trey who asks, I've learned that a close contact tested positive for COVID. I got tested last night and my results were negative. Am I supposed to receive my second Pfizer dose in just a few days? Or should I reschedule my second shot?
MALLIKA MARSHALL: I have to say, if you've been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you really should stay in quarantine for 14 days and postpone that second dose. And that's because you don't want to put people at the vaccination site at risk by potentially exposing them. Even if you delay your second dose by a week or two, you're still going to mount a good immune response. So I would postpone it for now.
- All right. Cindy asks an interesting question on Facebook. She says, "because of the reported side effects of the J&J vaccine", we've talked a lot about the rare blood clots, "why don't they just give that one to men only and offer women one of the other choices?"
MALLIKA MARSHALL: Yeah. That's a good question. I mean, some countries are actually limiting the use of the J&J vaccine to, say, for example people over the age of 60 since as you mentioned those rare blood clots typically happen in younger adults. Here in the US, the J&J has a warning but it hasn't been restricted in terms of age or gender. So I think it's reasonable for women under the age of 50 to choose to get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines instead, especially because those vaccines are now more readily available than they were before.
- All right. And Sarah writes, if a person got the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine in India back in March, could he take either Pfizer or Moderna as the second dose now here in the US?
MALLIKA MARSHALL: Yeah, I think that's going to happen to quite a few people. UK scientists are currently studying this. But most health experts say in the meantime that mixing and matching COVID vaccines is probably OK. It's not ideal. If you get Pfizer, you really should stick with Pfizer. If you get Moderna, you should stick with Moderna. If you get AstraZeneca, ideally you stick with AstraZeneca. But we don't offer the AstraZeneca vaccine here in the United States.
But so really his only options here are to get Pfizer, Moderna, or the J&J vaccine.
- Yeah. It's not quite like a buffet. You don't just get to sort of take this vaccine, a little bit of this one-- Thank you so much, Mallika. I really appreciate it. Dr. Mallika offers her best advice. But as always, consult your personal doctor before making any decisions about your health. If you have a question for Dr. Mallika, there are three ways to reach her. Her email is Dr. Mallika at cbs.com. On Twitter, her handle is @mallikamarshall. Or you can Facebook message her Dr. Mallika Marshall.