BOSTON (CBS) — Dr. Mallika Marshall is answering your coronavirus vaccine-related medical questions. If you have a question, 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.

Kristina from Billerica 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?”

I, too, am concerned about the uptick in numbers. I would continue to take the same precautions you have been taking until you and your loved ones are fully vaccinated. And even then, continue to use your best judgment, wearing masks in public and avoiding large groups of people. Just because an indoor restaurant or movie theater is open, doesn’t mean you should go there. Let’s keep doing what we’re doing until we get a critical number of people vaccinated and numbers start to fall considerably.

Carol says, “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?”

Congratulations on being fully vaccinated (assuming you’re two weeks out from your second dose). You’re now at a much lower risk of getting severely ill from COVID-19. I think if you choose a grocery store that follows social distancing guidelines, where everyone wears a mask, you will probably be okay. I would consider double masking, keep your distance from others, and use hand sanitizer when you’re done shopping. But please talk to your doctor to make sure he or she agrees that it’s safe for you to do so.

Louise asks on Facebook, “If vaccines protect you for about 6 months, do we need to set up appointments every 6 months?”

Studies have shown that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, for example, can protect people for up to 6 months but the protection may last considerably longer than that. Scientists may determine that we need a booster shot at some point, but don’t worry about getting another vaccination right now. We just need as many people to get their first-round shots as quickly as possible.

Jill asks, “Will there be an oral vaccine? I really don’t like needles!”

Scientists are currently testing oral vaccines against COVID-19 but study results probably won’t be available for some time. Don’t wait. Get one of the COVID-19 vaccine shots in the meantime.

Dr. Mallika Marshall