Donna writes:
Hi Dr. Griffin,

I hope by the time I have an answer for this, it is a moot point, but for the moment my son, age 17, with asthma (that is controlled well with a 2x daily inhaler of Redihale) has only the first two vaccinations.

The vaccinations were from Pfizer and dosing was April 16, 2021 and June 2, 2021.

In October/November of 2021, he became needle phobic while using Dupexant for eczema, his fourth dose he just could not manage to do.

We have been working with docs and psychologists since then and he has been in intensive therapy for anxiety since February. The program is amazing, top clinicians and mostly paid by insurance, but it has brought us down this rabbit hole of avoidance behavior and he has still not received the booster shots or a flu shot for 2021/22 or 2022/23 seasons. 

We are outside of Boston in a community that is highly vaccinated. Should he be wearing a mask? Should he mask in certain situations?

If this was answered in a previous clinical update, a reference to that is all I need and I will listen. THANKS so much for helping guide and inform so many people.


David writes:

Paxlovid is under the tree,
A gift from physicians to thee.
No nostrum exotic
Or antibiotic.
We wish you Peace, Love, and I.D.

Thanks for a great podcast.   I always listen. 

David A. Clements MD
Carolina Internal Medicine
Asheville, NC

Dan writes:

Hi Dr Griffin & Racaniello

I’ve been religiously listening to every TWIV and Q&A with A&E for over two years, and I love the community.  

I’m not an MD, but an amateur virology geek and completed Vincent’s online Virology class.  Friends often come to me to sanity-check their Covid related issues.

A friend of mine, female age 47 has been testing antigen positive for three months.

She is 5ft 2, 135lb 

She is 2 x vaccinated but has had covid twice previously. a survivor of cervical cancer and has a cerebrovascular disease with legions on her brain that is still being investigated.  She takes Sertraline, clonazepam for anxiety and Propranolol for migraines.  She also has had fibromyalgia for 20 years.

My questions are, how common is it for someone to be testing positive for this long?  Could she still be infectious?  Are there are clinical consequences to this?  What can she do to clear the virus?

The NHS in the UK here is fobbing her off as she mostly feels ok.  It’s really hard to get to an ID specialist unless you’re really sick here.  

BTW, on a side note, my parents, who are in their 80s, were not able to get Paxlovid here.  It seems the NHS doesn’t give it to the eldery elderly, only people with severe high-risk co-morbidities.  Very frustrating.

Thanks so much for your advice in advance and for your wonderful Microbe TV content.

Happy Holidays from a big fan in London, UK.


Eric writes:

Hello Dr Griffin,

I enjoy listening to your clinical update and appreciate all you do for science communication. 

I was recently prescribed a 5 day course of Prednisone 40mg. I am in my late 40s and have a couple of factors that could make me higher risk of severe disease. How long would a short course effect your immune response? If I get an infection from SARS-CoV-2 or influenza should I be seeking out antivirals, and for how long of a period after taking the steroids. I am up to date on vaccines, am I overthinking this?

Thank you and keep up the good work. 


Jenny writes:

Hi Daniel,

I’m on evusheld and have an upcoming appointment for my next shots. I called my doctor and asked if I should still come in given it isn’t effective for the current dominant variants, and has potential adverse effects. He said I should get it as it stills retains efficacy prophylactically. Now I’m just confused. I keep reading that it is inactive against the new subvariants. Do you know why he says it’s still effective? What am I missing?

Thanks so much,