Front-Line Stories

AUC UK Track Student Hoa Dao Joins the NHS COVID-19 Vaccine Team in the United Kingdom

AUC UK Track Student Hoa Dao Joins the NHS COVID-19 Vaccine Team in the United Kingdom

Healthcare professionals worldwide are being called on to expedite the COVID-19 vaccination rollout, and medical students are increasingly joining their ranks.

In Preston, home to American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC)’s UK Track Medical Degree (MD) Program, fifth-semester student Hoa Dao is stepping up to inoculate as many people as possible.

Hoa applied to join the National Health Service (NHS) COVID-19 vaccine team back in December, among tens of thousands of other applicants. After a rigorous interview process, he was accepted to work locally as a vaccinator in Preston, at a vaccination site for East Lancashire Hospitals following NHS policy. His role is to perform the intramuscular injection of the AstraZeneca vaccine in partnership with a “consenter” (typically a registered nurse or physician).

“My job is to deliver the vaccine once the consenter finishes obtaining the patient’s consent,” says Hoa. “I try to make small talk to help the patients feel more comfortable during the process.”

Hoa works two 6-hour shifts per week—a significant commitment to balance alongside his coursework, but one he feels is worth it. In his words, the “adrenaline rush” of interacting with patients and physicians in support of this critical public health endeavor is second to none.

“As medical students, we can practice OSCEs [Objective Structured Clinical Examinations] with each other or with actors, but nothing beats talking with a real patient and participating in a real clinical scenario,” says Hoa. “Besides, it’s a good chance to take my mind off the books for a while.”

Hoa, who grew up in Vietnam, saw AUC’s UK Track MD program as the perfect opportunity to pursue his chosen career while exploring a different country. As he finishes up the medical sciences portion of his education, he’s looking forward to clinical rotations.

“I want a job that makes me want to go to work every day, and I have always wanted to travel and explore the UK,” he says. “With the chance that AUC’s UK Track offered me, I just couldn’t say no.”

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We appreciate your commitment to the continued wellbeing of our AUC community and support during this unprecedented time. Please visit the AUC website for the latest updates regarding COVID-19.