Kuala Lumpur – Dr Nisha Thayananthan is all too familiar with the ordeal that all frontliners are undergoing in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, overcoming the fear of being infected, and stressed out from working non-stop – at times up to 36 hours.
“It was tiring to be in the frontline and wait for the next step in flattening the infection curve. I even had to undergo 14-day self-quarantine after coming into close contact with someone infected. The thought that I was exposed and will I be tested positive was a mental torture,” she said.
Dr Nisha, who has done catwalks as a model and participated in beauty pageants, told Bernama in an exclusive interview recently that medicine is her calling. So, she takes the challenges as a frontliner in her stride, and has no regrets in choosing medicine as her profession.
However, the Seremban-born doctor – who made a name for herself by winning the Miss World Malaysia 2019 ‘Beauty with a Purpose Award’ – persevered over the past year and managed to overcome the fear of getting infected, thanks to the COVID-19 vaccine.
While the long working hours seem to be part and parcel of the medical profession, Dr Nisha, who is attached to the General Surgery Department at Putrajaya Hospital, is now more confident of her safety and works at ease when treating patients as the vaccine provides some level of protection.
She is grateful that the national COVID-19 immunisation programme had finally started, and sees the vaccine as a blessing and a key to ending the pandemic once and for all.
“As a doctor and an individual, I feel happy and thankful that we finally have a vaccine to help us fight COVID-19 and hopefully eradicate this virus from the face of the earth,”
Being aware of the scepticism being harboured by some on the COVID-19 vaccine, Dr Nisha – in her capacity as the current Miss Earth Malaysia 2020/21 – has been spreading awareness on vaccination so that Malaysia could accelerate towards herd immunity.
“Honestly at first, even I was a bit nervous, only because I am a little scared of needles but not the vaccine itself. I had minor side effects like feverish feel, chills, lethargy, nausea, and vomiting after taking the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and these side effects vary from people to people.
“For me, the risk of minor side effects is a small price to pay compared with being infected by a potentially deadly disease,” said the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak graduate.
“I want our country to get back to normal. I cannot bear to watch the suffering that our people are going through,” said Dr Nisha, who has a twin sister, Nalini, working as a police officer in Penang.
Dr Nisha, who is also a social media influencer, will be contesting at the Miss Earth beauty pageant in Manila, the Philippines, at the end of this year. – Bernama