Do People Have Reactions From The COVID Vaccine? Dr. Mallika Marshall Answers Your Questions

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

Video Transcript

- Many of you have written to us with your questions about getting the coronavirus vaccine. WBZ is the only local TV station with a doctor on staff, and that is Dr. Mallika Marshall, who joins us now live to answer your questions. Doctor, great to see you. We're going to jump right in with Carol's question.

And she writes, "I am really scared of the vaccine, mainly because of drug sensitivities, allergies, and not great health. How do they know the Moderna vaccine won't be a problem for someone like me?"

MALLIKA MARSHALL: Carol, it sounds like, given your underlying health problems, that you might be at increased risk of getting severely ill from the virus were you to get infected. I certainly understand your hesitation, however. And so what I think you should do is just have a real frank conversation with your doctor. One thing he or she might ask you is, have you ever had a reaction to another vaccine, like the flu vaccine or the tetanus vaccine? I would imagine that the benefits of the COVID vaccine would outweigh the risks for you, but I would follow your doctor's advice.

- All right. This next one is from someone who is also anxious. Susan writes, "My daughter is a severe asthmatic who takes an immune modulator drug. She is very fearful of the vaccine, but also of getting COVID. Have you heard of any bad reactions from people on these medications?"

MALLIKA MARSHALL: So people like your daughter who are on medications that regulate the immune system are often told to stay away from live vaccines. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are not live vaccines, so they really shouldn't pose any particular problem for patients who are on those types of medications.

- OK. Rita wants to know about the actual process of going to get the shot. She writes, "I have been very worried about going to a mass vaccination site ever since I saw the photos taken of people way too close together. How can anyone feel comfortable that he or she won't, ironically, get the virus at the vaccination site?"

MALLIKA MARSHALL: I saw some of those pictures, too. I had similar concerns. But you know, I think that was a few days ago, when there were long lines outside certain vaccination centers of people who didn't necessarily have appointments who were hoping to get leftover doses. I think that has quieted down somewhat. And so if you can stay 6 feet apart from other people in line and everybody's wearing their mask, you should be just fine.

Anecdotally, I've heard from some people who have gone to some of these vaccination sites. And they say the process, if they had an appointment, was smooth, and they felt perfectly comfortable.

- And maybe wear a couple masks, then. Dr. Mallika Marshall, thank you so much.

MALLIKA MARSHALL: [LAUGHS]

That's right.

- Dr. Mallika offers her best advice. But as always, consult your personal doctor before you make any decisions about your own health. If you have a question for Dr. Mallika, there are three ways to reach her-- email Dr.Mallika@cbs.com, on Twitter, @mallikamarshall, or you can Facebook-message her, Dr. Mallika Marshall.