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Can Vaccinated People Pass COVID To Others? Dr. Mallika Marshall Answers Your Questions

BOSTON (CBS) — Dr. Mallika Marshall is answering your coronavirus-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.

Henry writes, "I'm 72 years old and going on a cruise. I'm trying to time my second booster so that I might have maximum protection against infection. Any advice?"

It takes a couple of weeks after vaccination to get the biggest boost in antibodies but it's still not clear how long that additional immunity lasts. It probably depends on a person's age and their underlying health conditions, but most people will experience a drop in effectiveness within a few months of vaccination. That said, I would get a booster as soon as you're eligible. It would be a shame to get COVID while you're waiting to time it perfectly with your travel plans.

Meredith asks, "Is it correct that vaccinated and unvaccinated people can be carriers of the virus?"

Anyone who gets infected, whether they have symptoms or not, whether they are vaccinated or not, can pass the virus on to others. However, you're much less likely to get infected if you're fully vaccinated and boosted and wear a mask in areas of increased transmission or certainly if you are at risk for severe COVID.

Tony wants to know, "I am a 51, fully vaccinated, and had one booster. I tested positive for COVID last month. My symptoms were very mild. How strong is my immunity? Can I get COVID again?"

I'm glad that you had mild symptoms, likely due to the vaccines. And getting infected has likely given you a nice boost in immunity. But that immunity will likely start to wane within a few months. And yes, you can get reinfected. We have seen a number of patients in our clinic who have gotten COVID twice, even three times in some cases. It's unclear if you've had the Omicron variant how likely you are to get Omicron again, but as we've learned, there are often new variants right around the corner.

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