Dr. Hugh Cassiere, the director of critical care services at Northwell Health’s North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y., is one of many health care workers who received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine this week. He talked to Yahoo News about what this moment meant to him, and why people should not fear the vaccine.
HUGH CASSIERE: Ready.
HUGH CASSIERE: 1, 2, 3, I'm not going to cry. I swear to God. All right, here we go. This is the beginning--
- This is it.
HUGH CASSIERE: --of a new beginning.
My name is Dr. Hugh Cassiere. I'm the director for critical care services for the Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital at Northwell Health. This is a dream come true. Honestly, it's pretty remarkable, the human ingenuity that within a year we have a vaccine. It's just monumental.
I still don't sleep at night. You know, I still wake up between-- anywhere between midnight and 3:00 in the morning. You know, post-traumatic stress disorder is real.
I got my vaccine on Tuesday. The shot felt like a normal vaccine shot. I tell people that the flu vaccine this year hurt my arm for a couple of days. I don't even feel anything from the shot.
I've had no fever, no chills, no nothing. It feels just like a regular vaccination I get once a year. Of course, that's physically. Emotionally, it was a whole different story. You know, it was very emotional getting the vaccine. Videoed it, put it on Twitter, showed everybody.
Showed everyone how, you know, we should be getting this. How it's safe, it's effective. We shouldn't worry about it. We should get to the front of the line and vaccinate as many people as we possibly can. It's just so exciting.
If you get vaccinated by either the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccine you have over a 90% efficacy. What does that mean? Over 90% of people will be protected from getting this infection. This is just a dramatic game changer that will put this virus in the corner so that we can lead our lives again. And it's very important that everyone gets vaccinated.
During this whole phase of vaccinating the quote unquote, "essential workers" and then the public, we need to still strictly adhere to handwashing, social distancing, masks, no large gatherings. We're all sick and tired of it, but we need to do this to save other people's lives. It's not just about yourself. It's about saving others and your loved ones.
So what this vaccine to me is, you know, we've been in a tunnel for over a year. I always tell people, there's light at the end of the tunnel. I'm at the end of the tunnel, and the sun is shining on my face now. So I'm almost free.