A Black female ICU nurse in Queens became the first New Yorker — and maybe even the first American — to receive Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine on Monday.
Sandra Lindsay, a nurse who works at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at a press briefing Monday. Lindsay received an ovation after receiving the first two shots. The nurse will receive the second shot in 21 days.
Dr. Michelle Chester, a Black woman, administered the shot.
Lindsay told reporters she was hopeful the rollout of the vaccine would be “the beginning of the end of a very painful time in our history.”
“I want to instill public confidence that the vaccine is safe,” Lindsay said, according to Yahoo News. “We’re in a pandemic so we all need to do our part.”
Lindsay and Chester were joined by Northwell President and CEO Michael Dowling, who said the medical care center has seen more than 100,000 coronavirus patients since the beginning of the year.
The press event marked a significant milestone in the fight against coronavirus. As late as September, infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said a vaccine likely wouldn’t be available until 2021. However, for many in the U.S., the vaccine has come too late as the coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 16 million residents and killed more than 300,000.
The first batch of coronavirus vaccines left Pfizer’s plant in Portage, MI, Sunday and is headed for more than 600 sites across the country. According to CNN, the first shipments are earmarked for the University of Michigan, George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C., and medical care centers in other states.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended healthcare workers and the elderly be among the first recipients, but states and local health officials will determine who will get the first shots.
Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton have said they’re willing to take the coronavirus vaccine on camera. Fauci said he would be getting the vaccine in the next week or so.
“As soon as my turn comes up, which likely will be very soon, I’m going to be available to get vaccinated publicly so that people can see that I feel strongly that this is something we should do, and hopefully that will encourage many more people to get vaccinated,” Fauci told MSNBC.