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.

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“I received my first vaccine (Moderna) today. The idea that it is using RNA as a messenger is scaring the heck out of me. Is it advisable to forgo my second Moderna and take the J&J vaccine when it’s approved?” – A viewer 

First of all, there is no reason for you to be afraid of the mRNA technology used in the Moderna vaccine. There is a lot of misinformation out there about these vaccines that is just not true. Messenger RNA cannot alter your DNA. It will not cause infertility. It will not give you COVID. It has been given to nearly 50 million Americans with very few reports of serious side effects. You should absolutely get your second Moderna vaccine on schedule and not wait for another vaccine to gain emergency use authorization.

“If one has little or no side effects from the first vaccine shot, does that indicate they might have minimum side effects from the second? I keep reading that the after-effects from the second shot can be severe.” -Janice from Leominster 

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Some people don’t feel any side effects after either dose, but most people do feel something, like arm pain, achiness, headache, fatigue, sometimes fever, and chills. You’re more likely to feel a little worse after the second dose than after the first, but rarely are the symptoms severe and they usually resolve within 24 to 36 hours.

“Most of the side effects that have been reported have been from those who are younger, yes? What might be expected for those of us over 65? The same, less, or more?” -Elaine 

It is true that younger people tend to experience more side effects from the vaccine than older people. But common symptoms for people of any age include achiness in the arm, headache, and fatigue. Fever, chills, and body aches are less common in both groups.

William writes on Facebook that he heard a report that thousands of people have died from the vaccine and he and his wife are afraid to get their second Moderna vaccine.

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I think what William saw was a headline that there have been over a thousand deaths reported in people who have received a COVID vaccine. That is 0.003% of the people vaccinated so far. But that doesn’t mean that they died from the vaccine. They probably died from other causes that would have killed them anyway. There is no reason to suspect a safety issue with the vaccines.

Dr. Mallika Marshall