Dr. Mallika Marshall reports.
- Common side effects from the coronavirus vaccines include fatigue and headache, but some women are also reporting changes in their menstrual cycles. WBZ's Mallika Marshall joins us now. And, Doctor, is this something that women need to worry about?
MALLIKA MARSHALL: No, not at all. I mean, most women don't develop any significant side effects with their menstrual periods after getting vaccinated, but there are some anecdotal reports from some women who say that their periods have gotten heavier or lighter or more irregular. Now, these changes don't tend to last more than one cycle. They don't seem to cause any serious problems. But researchers at the University of Illinois and Washington University are conducting a survey to try to track these reports.
There is no proof at this time that the vaccines are to blame. Many things can cause irregular menses, including stress and polycystic ovaries and fibroids, to name a few. So what is the take-home message? No, you don't need to worry. If you develop these symptoms, you can call your doctor to talk about your concerns. But I really don't want you to use this as a reason not to get vaccinated out of fear that you're going to have an irregular menstrual cycle.
- All right. Well, we do have some other viewer questions, Doctor. And our first one today comes from Deborah. She wants to know about side effects. She writes, do you know if I could have gotten shingles as a reaction to getting the first shot of the Moderna vaccine?
MALLIKA MARSHALL: So, don't believe everything that you've read online, because I think she's seen some reports online. It is unlikely that the vaccine actually triggered shingles in you. In fact, infectious disease experts are trying to debunk this myth. Shingles is common, so any number of people are going to develop shingles after getting vaccinated, but just because one thing follows another does not mean they're linked, and it's probably a coincidence.
- OK. Carolyn has a question about testing. She writes, thousands of people are listed as having COVID tests daily. Are they primarily those required to be tested because of their jobs?
MALLIKA MARSHALL: So, there are a lot of people, both kids and adults, who are getting tested regularly, sometimes multiple times a week, at school or at work. Then, of course, there are people who are getting tested for travel. There are people who get tested because they've had contact with someone who has COVID. And then, of course, there are the people who develop symptoms consistent with COVID, like sore throat and cough and fever. If you develop any of these symptoms, you should go get tested whether you've been vaccinated or not.
- Unfortunately, it's much easier to find and get a test now. Dr. Mallika Marshall, as always, thank you so much.
Dr. Mallika offers her best advice, but as always, consult your personal doctor before you make any decisions about your health. If you have a question for Dr. Mallika, there are three ways you can reach her. Email DrMallika@cbs.com, on Twitter, @mallikamarshall, or you can Facebook message her, Dr. Mallika Marshall.