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.
“The CDC is reporting a very quiet flu season. I am having difficulty understanding why the flu is not spreading while COVID 19 rates are exploding. Can you shed some light?” -Eric from Boston
You’re right to think if one respiratory virus is spreading like wildfire, another would be as well, despite social distancing and mask-wearing. But one additional measure that is helping keep flu rates down is the fact that so many people got vaccinated against the flu this season. In fact, flu vaccination rates rose by at least 46% among adults by last November compared to 2019. If you haven’t gotten your flu shot yet, it’s not too late.
“I am a pharmacist and have been having reservations about the vaccine because I am of childbearing age and am concerned about the lack of data on pregnancy. Should both my husband and I get the vaccine?” -Christie on Facebook
Yes. While pregnant women were not included in the initial studies, there is no reason to suspect that the technology used with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines should have any ill-effect on fertility or a developing fetus. We do know, however, that getting sick with COVID-19 can be quite harmful in pregnancy. But please consult your provider to discuss your concerns.
“My son is an EMT who will get his second COVID vaccine next week. Should he still get a COVID test if he has a known exposure after receiving the vaccine?”-Carolyn
We still don’t know if full vaccination prevents you from getting infected and passing it on to others even though you are much less likely to get sick. We hope to have more data on that in the coming months. But if he’s been vaccinated and thinks he might have become infected, he should still get tested but should consult Occupational Health to be sure.
Doctor, people who get the vaccine should still take precautions, right?
Yes. The vaccine can protect you from getting sick but we don’t know if getting vaccinated prevents transmission of the virus, you still need to wear your mask and socially distance to protect the people around you