Will There Be An Oral COVID Vaccine? Dr. Mallika Marshall Answers Your Questions

Dr. Mallika Marshall is answering your coronavirus vaccine-related medical questions.

Video Transcript

- And many of you have been reaching out to us with your questions about the coronavirus and about getting the vaccine. WBZ's the only local TV station with a doctor on staff. And Dr. Mallika Marshall joins me now to answer your questions. And Doctor, we're going to start with a question from Kristina. She's in Billerica and writes, "I have been very cautious for a year, but I'm wondering how I should respond to the state opening up restrictions at the same time that coronavirus indicators are rising. Should I feel safer because the state says it is safer or less safe because the statistics seem to say it is not?"

MALLIKA MARSHALL: I hear you, Kristina, because I also worry about the uptick in cases here in Massachusetts. I would continue to take the same precautions you always have until you and your loved ones are completely vaccinated. And even then, you need to use good judgment. Wear masks when out in public, avoid being in large crowds or large groups. Just because an indoor restaurant is open or a movie theater is open doesn't mean you need to go. I think we really need to continue to do what we're doing until a critical number of people have been vaccinated and those numbers begin to fall.

- And then we can all get out and about. Our next question comes from Carol who writes, "I'm 82 years old, and I have had both COVID shots. Is it now safe to go out and do my own grocery shopping with so many variants going around?"

MALLIKA MARSHALL: Yeah. I'm assuming you're fully vaccinated, meaning you're two weeks out from your second dose. And if so, that is awesome. Congratulations. And I would say, if you find a grocery store that follows social distancing rules, where people consistently wear their masks, it's probably OK. You might want to consider double-masking, keeping your distance away from other people, using hand sanitizer when you're done shopping. Of course, you want to check with your doctor to make sure it's OK with them. But it might be time to venture out and do a little grocery shopping.

- And this is a question, Doctor, that looks into the future. Louise asks on Facebook, "if vaccines protect you for about six months, do we need to set up appointments every six months?"

MALLIKA MARSHALL: You know, I want to clarify this because I think people have that six months in their head and they think, oh, my gosh, they stop working after six months. But studies have shown, for example, Pfizer and Moderna work up to six months they're effective. But they could last even longer than that. So yeah, we might need booster shots at some point down the road, but I don't want people to worry about getting booster shots right now. We just really need to get people in that first round of vaccinations, as many vaccinated as quickly as possible.

- All right, Doctor. Any number of people could have asked this question, but this one specifically comes from Jill, who asks, "will there be an oral vaccine? I really don't like needles," she writes.

MALLIKA MARSHALL: I don't know a lot of people who like needles but, yes, they are working on some oral vaccines against COVID-19. But it's in the early stages, and I think it's going to be a while before we have any reasonable data on those oral vaccines. So in the meantime, I'm sorry. I really want you to go get vaccinated and get the shots.

- Yes, look the other way and then get your Band-Aid. Thank you, Doctor. 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 Dr.Mallika@cbs.com, on Twitter @mallikamarshall, or you can Facebook Message her, Dr. Mallika Marshall.