By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) – Dr. Mallika Marshall is answering your coronavirus-related medical questions. If you have a question for Dr. Mallika, email her or message her on Facebook or Twitter.

Dr. Mallika is offering her best advice, but as always, consult your personal doctor before making any decisions about your personal health.

I’m 82 years old and afraid of getting a COVID-19 vaccine when one becomes available. What should I do? – Janice

I know there has been a lot of confusion about when a COVID vaccine will be available to the public and whether one will be released prematurely as a result of political forces at work. I can assure you that those of us who follow the science will not recommend a COVID vaccine for anyone until we are satisfied that it has met the requirements for being both safe and effective.

I get a flu vaccine every year. Could it interact with a COVID-19 vaccine? – Susan

It’s unlikely that a COVID vaccine will be widely available to the public before the end of the year. That said, there is no reason to believe at this time that getting both a flu vaccine and a COVID vaccine would be harmful. In fact, it’s strongly recommended that everyone over the age of six months get the flu vaccine this year, so don’t hesitate for any reason to get your flu shot in the few weeks.

Will wearing a mask decrease a child’s immunity to other viruses? – Betsy

It’s true that children as well as adults are less likely to catch other viruses like the common cold or the flu due to social distancing and wearing masks. And while exposure to viruses can help build kids’ immune systems, COVID-19 may return with an even greater vengeance as we move into cold and flu season, so less exposure is not such a bad thing right now.

Is regular liquid hand soap as adequate when washing your hands? – Armand

Is bar soap better than liquid soap? – Kamal

The type of soap you use doesn’t really matter that much. What’s more important is that you use soap and wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds.

Dr. Mallika Marshall

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