It has been a long journey for healthcare professionals and other essential workers braving coronavirus on the frontline across the globe, and the story has not been different for Stella Ogake, a pulmonary and critical care doctor at Ohio State University-Wexner Medical Center where she doubles as an Assistant Professor in Pulmonary and Critical care medicine.
Stella, a Kenyan native now residing in Ohio, USA, received her first dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Monday with the inceptive group of healthcare workers in the first phase of vaccinations across the country, as the world witnessed the historic rollout following the long-awaited emergency use approval of Pfizer vaccine by the FDA.
Responding to Jamhuri News‘ request for advice as a physician, Stella adduced that coronavirus vaccines match the quality of many others that have been there before as they have gone through all the necessary phases that the rest go through. “There are so many other vaccines out there. The coronavirus vaccines have undergone rigorous research and went through all the phases of development and research that all other vaccines go through” she said.
“I trust the vaccine and that’s why I got it. It is our best chance of beating COVID. And for us to beat COVID with this vaccine we need at least 70 to 80% of the population to be vaccinated” she added.
The African American community has been more hesitant in trusting the coronavirus vaccine than other communities according to a recent survey by Pew Research Center that shows only 42 percent of African Americans say they would get the vaccine, compared to over 60 percent of White and Hispanic adults who say they would immediately take it.
Stella has been taking care of critically ill patients in the ICU, a duty that she says gives her joy in serving her patients. She speaks passionately of how that joy has not vanished despite the overwhelming nature of work during the pandemic which has brought both physical and emotional impact on her. “Despite the constant fear of contracting the virus or bringing it home to my loved ones, the constant loss of patients dying in the ICU without their loved ones and fatigue brought about by working long hours, there are also happy moments when patients get better and get to go home and be with their families!” She asserts.
After graduating from medical school at Moi University in Kenya, Stella proceeded to join School of Medicine in Eldoret, Kenya. Following that, she interned and worked at the prestigious Aga Khan University for two years before relocating to the United States where she pursued a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical care Medicine. Stella is currently an Assistant Professor in Pulmonary and Critical care medicine at Ohio State University.
“Be safe out there. Wear a mask. Social distance. Wash your hands. And if the vaccine is made available to you, please get it! We are all together in this and together we can win this fight!” Stella urges the public.