Why are some COVID cases more serious than others? Dr. Mallika Marshall answers your questions


BOSTON – Dr. Mallika Marshall answers your medical questions. If you have any questions, email him or message him on Facebook or Twitter,

Rachel on the Cape writes, “I have a mild case of COVID, even though I haven’t had a booster in over a year. My friend has a severe case, even though she has no known virus known to mankind. Every vaccine is. And why are these vaccines always said to be 100% safe and effective?”

I’m glad you have a mild case of COVID-19, probably in large part because you’ve been vaccinated and still have some residual immunity, even though you haven’t had the vaccine in over a year.

Whether or not a person actually falls ill with Covid depends on several factors such as vaccination status, age, whether one has ever had Covid before, and a person’s underlying health, etc. And if your friend is sick now, even if he or she got the disease. Despite the new vaccine, there still won’t be enough time to build immunity.

That said, it’s still unclear why some people have milder infections than others.

No vaccine is 100% safe and effective. Every vaccine carries some risk of side effects, but in the case of the COVID, RSV, and flu vaccines, the risk of serious complications is extremely rare.

And while all three vaccines are not 100% effective at preventing infection, all of them will significantly reduce your risk of getting seriously ill this winter.

Dr. Mallika is offering her best advice, but as always, consult your personal physician before making any decisions regarding your personal health.



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