By Dr. Max Gomez

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – With one COVID vaccine already rolled out and a second one expected by this weekend, many people still have questions.

CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez has some answers for viewers.

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Some people with special health issues wonder if the vaccine is safe for them. For example, a viewer asked:

Should people with autoimmune disorders, such as Lupus, take this vaccine?

This is a hard one, because this issue has not been fully studied in people with autoimmune diseases which, in addition to Lupus, incudes Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s, colitis and many others.

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While in general, previous vaccines did not appear to trigger or worsen autoimmune diseases, that has not been studied with these new genetic-type vaccines. Pfizer did have a small number of volunteers with autoimmune disease in its clinical trial with no apparent worsening of their disease.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

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We’ll know more in the coming months as all of the manufacturers will be required to do careful post-authorization monitoring of vaccine recipients. It’s important to have a careful conversation with your doctor about this vaccine if you have an autoimmune disease.

Another viewer asks: Will I have to get the COVID vaccine every year like the flu vaccine?

The answer is probably not, although these vaccines are too new to be 100% certain of that. Data from the clinical trials suggest both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines induce T-cell immunity, which should be much longer lasting than antibody immunity. And even though some different strains of the coronavirus have appeared, it looks like the part of the virus these vaccines are directed against are stable, unlike the flu virus that changes so much and so often you need a new shot every year. Scientists think these coronavirus vaccines should offer lasting protection – maybe not lifelong – but hopefully enough to pull us out of the pandemic.

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To submit your question to Dr. Max, click here

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Dr. Max Gomez