CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Though experts stress being vaccinated prevents more severe side effects, many African Americans are still wary of getting the vaccine.

“I’ve heard everything about the vaccine. I’ve heard fear of long-term effects. I’ve heard the mark of the beast,” Anitra Ellis, Nurse Practitioner at Health Right said.

“People say they’re getting chipped, that the vaccine has a whole bunch of baby feces in it,” Martec Washington, Community Activist said.

Since the first vaccine came out, there’s been many conspiracy theories. The best advice health professionals can give is this:

“You have to look at the source that you’re getting your information from. What we know is concrete fact that the people in the hospital dying are unvaccinated,” Ellis said.

Many of those people choose not to get vaccinated and a lot of the individuals are African Americans. Martec Washington says he knows of someone in his community dying almost every day from COVID-19.

“We’re having too many funerals back to back to back to back, to where COVID is real and it’s out here,” Washington said.

Some questions people have about the vaccine are why is the government mandating it and is it safe because it was made so quickly?

“The reason why it was made so quickly is because our government pushed for the vaccine because we believe it’s the safest way for us to get over the pandemic,” Ellis said.

There’s not a lot of African Americans in the medical field which leads to mistrust.

“As African Americans we have a lot of co-morbid conditions that are going to put us more at risk for death due to COVID,” Ellis said.

Washington says more people dying might wake people up.

“When people’s brother, sisters, cousins die from COVID, then they’re like ‘wait a second it hits too close to home,’” Washington said.

Ellis says the best way to encourage your neighbor to get vaccinated is to share your experience if you are vaccinated with others and ask questions.