Dr Adam Woodford was one of the first healthcare workers to receive the Covid-19 vaccine at the Livingstone Hospital in Nelson Mandela Bay…

But it wasn’t the fact that he received the vaccine that had him trending all over social media for the past few days. Dr Woodford (30) has become the unofficial ‘poster child’ of the vaccination rollout after the GCIS shared images of him and several other doctors receiving the vaccine.

Social media thought the doctor’s biceps and friendly smile were a winning formula, and the comments came flying in! Many volunteering to be vaccinated by Dr Woodford, while others wanted to know which hospital he worked at in case they needed emergency care.

Woodford has taken the media attention in his stride, laughing at his sudden ‘fame’. He says his family and co-workers are having a good time teasing him about it.

All4Women chatted to the doctor about his experiences on the frontline during the pandemic, and the key question that social media users are asking: “Is he single?!”

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The doctor gave some insight on what it’s been like to be battling the coronavirus in hospitals in South Africa. “In SA, we already worked under considerably difficult conditions in some of our hospitals, and then Covid hit.”

Worst day

“We have all been through burn outs for being overworked and emotional scarring from losing colleagues as well as seeing so many of our patients die despite our best efforts.”

Woodford described one of his worst days where three patients that he tried desperately to save passed away by the end of his shift.

“I had to phone the families to inform them after each death. Then one of the daughters came to the ward with a gift bag, full of snacks, toiletries and a “get well soon mom” card. Her mother had just passed away and I had phoned the family moments ago to inform them, however she hadn’t got the news. I had to tell her right there. She dropped the bag on the floor and become inconsolable. That broke me. Breaking bad news daily took its toll on all of us.”

He praised the support of his colleagues. “It’s what pulled us through. We became stronger as a unit.”

He praised the support of his colleagues. “It’s what pulled us through. We became stronger as a unit.”

Vaccine hope

Dr Woodford says he and his colleagues are super excited about the vaccine. “It can’t roll out quick enough!”

He hoped it would prevent a third wave in the country. “People might still get the virus, but hopefully won’t need hospital admission for it or die.”

“It is nice to know all my colleagues have got their shot – as at one point five or more of our doctors in our department got Covid at the same time! At times like that, work becomes almost impossible.”

Has he had any side-effects from the Covid jab?

“Yes, I had chills/fever and myalgias (muscle pain) the night after the vaccine,” says Dr Woodford. But he took some paracetamol and felt fine afterwards.

“Most of my colleagues experienced the same, and we were all fine the next day.”

He says these side effects are actually a GOOD thing. “It’s just a sign that your immune system thinks its fighting an infection and in the process,  it makes antibodies to protect us from real Covid.”

Coronavirus - 2019-nCoV or COVID-19 vaccine bottles for injection use only. Urgent vaccine research and production use in COVID-19 - Coronavirus disease. COVID-19 vaccine close up with copyspace.
Copyright : Chayatorn Laorattanavech

Staying active and healthy

As social media pointed out, Dr Woodfood is ‘fit’. He says a healthy lifestyle is his main aim. “Being in shape is just a by-product of that.”

He says that he battled to get his motivation back after overcoming his own bout of Covid-19, and working throughout the second wave. “But as a doctor I’ve got to lead by example by living a healthy lifestyle. I can’t tell diabetic patients to lose weight if I’m nearing diabetes myself.”

He even spent his 30th birthday at home recovering from Covid. “My heart rate was very fast and I was short of breath with exertion. I would say I’m fully recovered now though.”

 

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A post shared by Adam (@adamwoody7)

How does he relax?

“The Playstation 5 has been a welcome distraction (probably a bit too welcome). I’m a fairly avid gamer and definitely takes my mind of things. Exercise also takes your mind of things.”

How is he managing the attention?

“The attention has been flattering. There’s some hilarious comments and very witty people out there. I always usually laugh at those things, but now I’m that guy in the post, that is weird. My colleagues and friends have been having a field day with this.”

 

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A post shared by Adam (@adamwoody7)

What’s his relationship status?

“I am married, my wife is laughing about it all,” laughs Dr Woodford.

“She is a medical laboratory scientist so she has also been hard worked during this time.”

During the worst of the pandemic, the couple sometimes went for a week at a time only seeing each other for an hour or so.

“This was due to different shift times for each of us,” says Dr Woodford.

“Despite that, she always make sure I’m well fed for my long shifts, and helps keep me upbeat in hard times.”