Dr. Mallika is offering her best advice, but as always, consult your personal doctor before making any decisions about your personal health.
Gretchen from Swampscott writes, “My 22-year-old son had COVID in March and is scheduled for his first Pfizer vaccine today. I have read that people who have had the virus should be careful getting the second vaccine. Should my son get an antibody test after his first vaccine to be sure he won’t overdose on the vaccine?”
Your son won’t “overdose” on coronavirus antibodies. It’s true that someone who has had COVID in the past may have more side effects from the vaccine, but it’s not dangerous. There is more data to suggest that people who have had COVID may only need to get one dose of a 2-dose COVID vaccine series, but right now the CDC still recommends both doses. That could change.
Carolyn writes, “I am 71 and had the Pfizer inoculations last month with no side effects at all!” She wants to know if she should get to New Hampshire to get a booster dose now.
Just because you didn’t have side effects does not mean the vaccine didn’t work. And no, you do not need to get a booster shot right now. At least for Pfizer and Moderna, data suggests that their vaccines remain highly effective for at least 6 months and possibly beyond. Both companies are saying that a booster shot may be necessary after a year and possibly every year after that but we’re waiting for more information before recommending boosters for anyone.
Deborah writes, “Do you know if I could have gotten shingles as a reaction after my first Moderna vaccine shot? I have read on the internet people stating that they got shingles 2 to 3 weeks after receiving their first Covid vaccine.”
Don’t believe everything you read online. It is unlikely that the COVID-19 vaccine caused you to develop shingles. Infectious disease experts are debunking this myth. Shingles is common, so some people will develop shingles after getting vaccinated, but this does not mean that the two are linked, just a mere coincidence.
Carolyn writes, “Who are the thousands of individuals listed on daily reports as having had the COVID test on that day? Are they primarily those required to be tested due to jobs?”
A lot of people, both kids and adults, are getting tested regularly at school and at work. And there are others who are getting tested for travel purposes or if they have been exposed to someone who has COVID or if they develop symptoms of COVID. I will say that right now, if you develop possible symptoms of COVID like a sore throat, cough, or fever, you should get tested whether you’ve been vaccinated or not.