Dr. Mallika is offering her best advice, but as always, consult your personal doctor before making any decisions about your personal health.
“What about breast cancer survivors who have endured lymphedema after the removal of lymph nodes? I am concerned that the COVID vaccines could exacerbate any existing lymphatic issues and even lead to long term effects.” -Mary
Lymphedema is swelling usually caused by the removal of damage to your lymph nodes as a part of cancer treatment. If you’re at risk for lymphedema, many doctors recommend that you get the vaccine in the opposite arm or in your thigh. Both are acceptable.
“I received my last dose of the Pfizer vaccine on May 5th. I am to keep my 1 ½-year-old nephew for a week. Will we be okay?” -Jacquelyn
You should be well protected against COVID-19 but your young nephew will not so you just want to be careful with him when he goes out in public or visits with others. Because he’s under 2, he’s too young to wear a mask. It could be a suffocation risk. So you should keep him a safe distance from other people who are not vaccinated and wash his hands often.
“I had my second COVID shot a week ago yesterday and my doctor said I need a shingles vaccine but not yet. How long is a good time to wait to get that vaccine? And is it a one-time vaccine or do I need to repeat every year?” -Debbie
The shingles vaccine is given in two doses administered two-to-six months apart. You should wait at least two weeks between having a COVID vaccine and getting any other vaccine, including the shingles vaccine.
“When will the FDA finally approve the vaccine on a non-emergency basis?” -Patricia on Facebook
Pfizer applied for full authorization for their vaccine on May 7, and Moderna followed suit on June 1. It’s a rigorous process but I expect that both vaccines will receive full FDA approval in the next few months.