Kenyan-born doctor Stella Biyaki Ogake was among the first recipients of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine in the US.
On Monday, the US government began the rollout of the vaccine to frontline healthcare workers across the 50 states.
Dr. Ogake was vaccinated at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Centre where she works as a pulmonologist and professor.
“I feel great. I just got the vaccine, it was not painful at all. I do not know how I am going to feel in the next few hours, but I feel good,” Ogake told CNN in an interview.
She added: “I would say that this is a very exciting moment. It is very surreal as well, but for us who are in the frontlines taking care of these patients, it is such a moment of hope because we can see the light. We can see the end of this pandemic. It is the beginning of the end.”
Ogake graduated with a degree in medicine from Moi University in 2008 and briefly worked at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi before moving to the US in 2012.
“Just seeing patients in the hospital and seeing what they go through, my biggest fear is getting it myself or taking it home to my son or my husband, or my other family members,” she said.
In a separate interview, Ogake who mainly works in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) said working during the pandemic has been overwhelming.
“I like to work in the ICU, I like spending time in the ICU, but with Covid-19 it becomes very overwhelming, with all the number of patients we see and the fact that we see these really sick people, worrying that we are going to take it home to our families,” Ogake said.
The US has so far recorded nearly 17 million Covid-19 cases and over 300,000 deaths, making it the hardest-hit country in the world.
The US government prioritized healthcare workers at the highest risk of contracting Covid-19 in the roll-out of the vaccine.
Studies have shown that the Pfizer vaccine is 95 percent effective in protecting against Covid-19 infections.