Health experts weigh in on the truth about the COVID vaccine

NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- Despite the outreach and efforts to increase communication, many people are still skeptical and are still asking questions about the vaccine.

For Becky Kaiser, a single mom of four and a nurse at Hackensack Meridian Health Center, getting the vaccine wasn't a sure thing.

"I had some hesitation about something so new and if I got sick from the vaccine," she said.

But, the devastation she saw among COVID patients compounded with her own fear of getting the virus and not being able to care for her kids, changed her mind.

"The idea that maybe I would be separated from them for an extended period of time, so that fear pushed me over the edge to say let's get this and then I've done everything I can do," Kaiser said.

So how did she fare?

"Everything was fine," she said. "I had a sore arm that night and the next day, but other than that no other symptoms or side effects."

RELATED: Where you can get the COVID vaccine in New Jersey

"It's actually a really, really safe vaccine," said Dr. Dan Varga, Chief Physician at Hackensack Meridian Health Center.

Dr. Varga says the vaccine isn't a live virus, so it won't make you sick. Instead, the aches, or fever are signs that your immune system is turning on. He clarified some other misconceptions.

"If you're vaccinated while you have COVID you will die. That's not true," he said.

In fact, there are plenty of asymptotic people who've already been vaccinated without issue.

"If you've already had COVID, you don't need the vaccine," Dr. Varga said. "There is no reason not to get the vaccine just because you've been infected with COVID."

You could consider it a booster, giving you more protection.
"Once vaccinated you never need to wear a mask again? Wrong," Dr. Varga said.

That's because there's still a 5% chance of getting COVID, and even if you're immune you may still spread the virus.

"I know the science is good science," said Dr. Yvette Calderon, Emergency Room Physician at Mount Sinai.

Dr. Calderon looked at the data and listened to virologists before she got the vaccine. She hopes it will protect her from the virus that killed her father.

"As a daughter it was heart-wrenching, and as a daughter who is a physician there is a pain that will stay with me forever," Dr. Calderon said.

Both of these women, Kaiser and Calderon, overcame their fears of the vaccine and hope others follow suit.

"The more people who get vaccinated the less likely we are to continue transmitting the disease," Kaiser said.

That will allow all of us to get back to truly living.

RELATED: Where you can get the COVID vaccine in NYC

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