Vaccines are the only weapon against Covid-19: Dr Sutapa Mookerjee’s message on behalf of the NHS

Vaccines are the only weapon against Covid-19: Dr Sutapa Mookerjee’s message on behalf of the NHS

In the latest instalment of the iGlobal Frontline Series, we catch up with another leading National Health Service (NHS) medic to get some crucial health and safety answers around Covid-19 vaccines and on overcoming the pandemic.

Dr Sutapa Mookerjee, MBBS, DCH, MRCP, MRCPCH, is a Consultant Paediatrician working in the community in Trafford, Manchester, and the Clinical Lead of the department. She is the designated doctor for safeguarding children and young people in Trafford. She has been working in Paediatrics in the NHS for the last 20 years. She had done her specialisation in Child Health after graduating from medical school in Calcutta, India, before moving to the UK with her husband.

Having pursued her specialist training in Paediatrics in the UK, she then chose to further specialise in Paediatric Neurodisability from Sheffield Hallam University.

"In my day-to-day work, I manage children with complex medical needs living in Trafford. This involves regularly reviewing them in clinics as close to their homes as possible and treating their various ailments."

Dr Mookerjee adds: "I also regularly visit a special needs school to review and manage the medical needs of children who study there. I interact with families of children who have developmental disabilities and help them to navigate multiple agencies to integrate their seamless care."

Dr Sutapa Mookerjee is a mother of three children and her husband is a fellow medic – a Consultant in Paediatric Cardiology at the Manchester Children's Hospital.

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Here she gives some insights into aspects such as vaccine safety, coping mechanisms during the lockdown, and work-life balance:

Q

Can you please share your experience of getting the vaccine?

A

I was given the first dose on 18th December 2020 and the 2nd dose on 5th March 2021. The vaccination centre was very well managed. I was asked to wait for 15 minutes after the injection and asked to report if I felt ill. I was also asked to look for side effects of fever, soreness in the vaccination site and headache.

After the 1st dose, I had a little bit of soreness at the injection site, which lasted for 24 hours. After the 2nd dose, I had similar soreness, which lasted for 2 days. I did not have any other symptoms after that.

Q

What is your message to those in the community who may have doubts about getting vaccinated?

A

We are lucky that compared to pandemics of the past, we now have a vaccination against Covid, thanks to the work of many scientists around the world. At the moment, it is the only weapon available to stop us from getting ill from Covid. It will not only give protection from the disease but will also reduce transmission among the population, thereby ending the pandemic.

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Q

What are some coping mechanisms that help you balance the extra work pressures, stress, and tragedy through the pandemic?

A

I had to go to work during the pandemic on most days, and regular human contact helped me with my emotional wellbeing. My workload increased due to the isolation and sickness of colleagues. Regularly talking to my close relatives and friends and walking in the park with my husband after work helped me cope during this challenging period.

We realised quite early that people who were forced to stay indoors all over the world needed some support for their mental wellbeing. Music is an essential tool that helps to elevate the human spirit. We, therefore, organised regular live musical events on YouTube for our friends and family. These were very well appreciated by all and also helped me to cope with the serious situation prevailing all around us.

Q

What would be your message to those considering a career with the NHS?

A

Providing healthcare is teamwork, and no individual can work in isolation. The NHS is the best healthcare system globally as it is entirely free at the point of delivery. This is an important aspect of people asking for help at the start of their illness, which stops their progression at the outset and gives them the best chance of getting cured. I have been working in the NHS for the past 20 years, which has been very rewarding.

I have been part of multidisciplinary teams and have seen remarkable examples of success and compassion. It gives me immense pleasure to have a positive impact on other people's lives every day. I will strongly recommend young people to think of a career in healthcare in the NHS, as it is the most rewarding feeling.

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