NYU Langone doctor answers common COVID-19 vaccine questions

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COVID-19 vaccine eligibility has continued to expand for much of New York. Beginning April 6, eligibility to get vaccinated is now in effect for all New Yorkers 16 years and older.

As of Wednesday, April 7, close to 22% of the state’s population has been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. However, concerns about the vaccine and its side effects have brought on many questions by those skeptical about receiving a vaccine dose.

PIX11 spoke with Dr. Stephanie Sterling, the chief of infectious diseases and hospital epidemiologist at NYU Langone Hospital–Brooklyn, and co-lead of NYU Langone’s Vaccine Center research clinic to answer some of the common questions surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine.

Q: A lot of people are worried about women becoming infertile/sterile after the vaccine. Is that is something doctors are worried about?

Dr. Sterling: Physicians and providers are definitely concerned about the safety and health of their patients. Still, the vaccine is considered safe for pregnant women and women of childbearing age, per the CDC as well as the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG). More information can be followed HERE.

Q: Can you still give someone COVID-19 if you’ve been vaccinated but have been in contact with someone with the virus?

Dr. Sterling: This is continued to be studied but based on current data, it appears that vaccinated people are less likely to be asymptomatic and are less likely to pass the SARS-CoV-2 virus to another person.  This is the reason behind recent changes in the CDC’s recommendations. Changes and the rationale behind this can be found HERE.

Q: Do I need to wear as mask as usual after having both shots?

Dr. Sterling: At this time, masking (along with hand washing, social distancing) is recommended in public spaces. The reason for this is that no vaccine is 100% protective. Hence, a risk for infection remains even in a fully vaccinated individual. The CDC has published updated guidelines that allow for fully vaccinated individuals to consider small gatherings without masks. People who are not fully vaccinated should still continue to be very cautious as the majority of our communities, our country, and the world, remain unvaccinated and, therefore, at risk for infection and transmitting it to someone else.

Q: Do I have to quarantine if I come in contact with some who was positive after I received the COVID-19 vaccine?

Dr. Sterling: A fully vaccinated person who has come into contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 does not need to quarantine as long as that fully vaccinated person does not feel sick.

Q: Does the vaccine expire? Would I need a booster shot at some point? 

Dr. Sterling: At this time we do not know if a booster will be needed. This research is ongoing. The phase three trials for the current EUA-approved vaccines will be an important source of information for this. You can check the CDC website regularly for any changes/updates.

Watch Dr. Sterling’s full interview with PIX11 HERE.

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