Editor’s Note: Healthy Courier reporters recently interviewed Courtney Ercole. She is a physician assistant and an adjunct professor at Drexel University. The reporters asked Ms. Ercole questions about the
Covid vaccines. Her answers have been edited.
Question: What does a physician assistant do?
Ms. Ercole: A physician assistant is a healthcare provider who works with a healthcare team including a doctor. They help take care of people when they’re sick or need a checkup. They work in clinics, hospitals, schools, and elsewhere.
Question: Why are vaccines important?
Ms. Ercole: Vaccines are important because they help reduce infectious diseases. Vaccines help your body’s immune system fight back against specific diseases. This lowers your chances of getting very sick or suffering complications from diseases. They also help protect people around you, people in your community.
Question: Why are some people hesitant or afraid of the Covid shot? What do you tell them?
Ms. Ercole: I think people are afraid because nobody expected this pandemic to happen. It kind of took us by surprise. I think people were afraid because they didn’t have a lot of information about Covid or the
vaccines. It’s very hard to understand things that people are saying on TV. I think that the most important thing is to ask your healthcare provider and use them as a resource. Your healthcare provider can answer your questions. There are no silly questions to a healthcare provider. The more that you know and understand lowers your fear and anxiety. People have
a lot of misinformation. The vaccines are new, and that can be scary for people. Knowledge is power. When we know things, we are less afraid.
Question: Does getting the Covid-19 vaccine prevent a person from having Covid-19?
Ms. Ercole: Very good question. It does not prevent you from getting Covid-19. You can still get it even if you’re vaccinated. However, your body now has resources to fight off the disease when it’s encountered. If you do get Covid-19, you likely would not be as sick or go to the hospital.
Question: Why is it important that many people get vaccinated?
Ms. Ercole: High vaccination coverage in a population reduces the spread of the disease. It helps stop spread of the disease and it also helps prevents new variants from emerging.
Question: What are the possible negative effects of people who get the Covid vaccine?
Ms. Ercole: The most common side effect is a sore arm where the shot is given.
Question: Did you get vaccinated?
Ms. Ercole: Yes. I got it to stay healthy. If I’m sick, I can’t help my patients. When you’re vaccinated, it’s also harder for you to give an illness to someone else. Some of my patients have chronic health conditions that make them more susceptible to severe illness.