English Guyanese ‘med’ student vaccinated for COVID-19

– ‘worst case’ scenarios can all be dealt with

By Rehana Ahamad

SARAH Hack, a young Guyanese studying medicine in England, urges all Guyanese to remain open to being vaccinated against the new coronavirus (COVID-19), once the vaccines are available here in Guyana.
The 22-year-old said she had received almost every vaccine available in Guyana and most of the world. On Thursday, she received her first shot of the prominent COVID-19 vaccine, Pfizer, and is expected to receive her second dose in March.
Just before Christmas, Hack traveled to England, where she began the final part of her studies at North Middlesex Hospital in London. As a medical student, Hack is a frontline worker; as such, it falls into the priority category of people receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Of course, the vaccines are not compulsory. When asked about any anxiety he may have had towards vaccination, Hack asserted, “I was not anxious in the least.”

Sarah Hack

He argued, “COVID-19 has taken nearly two million lives so far, and as far as adverse reactions go, about 1.5 million people have been vaccinated so far, and only a handful of people out there, maybe like 20, who have had adverse reactions. ”
Hack emphasized on the fact that none of the side effects are fatal. “The COVID-19 vaccine has yet to kill anyone, while COVID itself has taken nearly two million lives worldwide,” he said, adding: “I think it’s the only one the hope we have now, and the only way we can see this end. ”


The prospective doctor also drew critical reference to the destruction of polio in the 1900s.
“Polio plundered the world, and destroyed the population of almost every country in the 40s and 50s. And then there were these guys, Dr. Salk and Dr. Sabin, who devised a vaccine they gave for free. Now, polio is being eradicated in the whole world, except for two countries, because of their individual issues, ”Hack noted.
The first polio vaccine was developed by Dr. Jonas Salk and first used in 1955, while the second was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin, first used in 1961.
Hack highlighted that the majority of people who suffer from the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines are those who are hypersensitive.
“The worst case scenario is what they’ve been seeing; something called anaphylaxis, which is basically your body going into shock. Your heart rate goes up, your blood pressure goes down, you feel a little lightheaded and you tend to faint, ”Hack noted. He noted, however, that most of the side effects are common with almost all vaccines.
“The handful of people who have experienced these side effects are typically those with food allergies; people who are hypersensitive, or people with asthma or more, ”the emerging doctor explained.


Hack said that the process of administering the vaccines is “virtually the same” in most countries. He explained that people in England and the United States are informed of their eligibility to receive the vaccine, either by email or phone. In a country like Guyana, with vast lands and many remote areas, there may be instances where house-to-house notification may be required. “The system in place is largely foolish, I would say. I’ve talked to my US colleagues, and they basically went through the same thing, ”Hack stressed.
He said that, in England, priority is given to people over the age of 80, along with all frontline workers. In contacting her experiences, the young student said that when she arrived at the vaccination center, a protocol required that she be given a pamphlet explaining all the side effects of taking the vaccine. This was done, and her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine was administered to Hack. “The common side effects are things like headache, fever; some people experienced night sweats and colds, and some experienced nausea, ”Hack noted.


Six to seven hours after receiving his shots, Hack began to experience slight tenderness at the injection site; however, the slight discomfort to pain worsened after a few hours. This was his only symptom. “I took it at 12:30 pm, and up to 06:30 pm, my pain was like one or two out of 10. From like 7pm to now (10:15 pm), it’s been like six out of 10… I might take paracetamol, ”related. He held that injection site soreness is the most common side effects of almost any injection.
Hack told the Guyana Chronicle that she was not hesitant or worried about the side effects, mainly because the COVID-19 response in England had been humane, and quite patient-friendly. “… Plus, most of my friends are in the medical field,” added Hack.
The young woman is currently studying on a full scholarship received from the Government of Guyana. He spent three years in medical school in Grenada, after which he went to England to begin the second part of the same course. Hack will wrap up her studies and return home after a year and a half.