COVID-19: Medical Student Experience #VaxUpMS - The Mississippi Way

COVID-19: Medical Student Experience #VaxUpMS

Niki Patel

My Experience

I was a second-year medical student when the COVID-19 virus hit Mississippi. I did not know what this meant for us and our country, much as the rest of the nation. However once receiving the news, it was evident that our everyday lives would take a turn for the worse.

We were sentenced to quarantine for what started out as days and then turned to weeks and months. In that time, I felt my mental health deteriorate. It became more and more difficult to be away from people and the fight against COVID-19.

After months of being in quarantine, I returned to campus for clinical clerkships. With social distancing measures in place and everyone around me covered in masks, the environment and atmosphere were far from normal. In the clinic and on the patient floors, we would many times be gowned, gloved, and masked. I felt dehumanized and disconnected with patients.

I realized that this had to be the “new normal”. It was the only logical solution to keep ourselves and others safe. However, the hard part was accepting the new normal—it was emotionally challenging and mentally draining.

Almost the entire year of 2020 went by as we watched billions of people from all over the world suffer the consequences of this horrid virus. The number of cases and death would rise each day, and unfortunately, I knew there would not be a change of course without further intervention—the vaccine.

The first COVID-19 vaccines were released mid-December. I recall impatiently waiting for “my turn”. As soon as my medical school made the call, I eagerly signed-up and was vaxed with my first dose before the holidays!

At that moment, I felt hope. I was grateful to have received shot #1. Knowing that I was a part of making history and the world we live in a better and safer place, I continued my COVID-19 vaccination series and received shot #2 and the booster dose. 

Reflect, Prevent, Encourage

After sharing my story, I ask those around me to think about the people you care about. Think about the difference you can make within your community, nation, and world. Let’s stop the spread of COVID-19 together.

The first step we can take is listening to the advice of the CDC, FDA, state health department, and our local state medical association.

If you are feeling hesitant with becoming vaccinated, talk to your primary care physician and see the updated Mississippi State Department of Health guidelines for vaccination eligibility (listed below and link providedà,22816,420,976.html):

  • Persons aged 5 and older can receive COVID-19 vaccines. Booster and third doses are available for qualifying adults 18 and older.
  • Pregnant women, lactating women and those who are immunocompromised may take the vaccine; however, consultation with your healthcare professional is recommended.
  • You can be vaccinated if you have tested positive for COVID-19 if you wait until your isolation period is over and your symptoms have significantly improved.

Join in the fight with me and let’s #VaxUpMS!