Queens Nurse  is First in US to get Vax

Queens Nurse is First in US to get Vax

Photo Courtesy of Scott Heins for the Office of Governor Cuomo

Queens ICU Nurse Sandra Lindsay receives COVID-19 vaccination.

By Michael V. Cusenza

On Monday morning, Sandra Lindsay, an Intensive Care Unit nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Glen Oaks received the first COVID-19 vaccine injection in the country.

The vaccine was developed by Pfizer, a New York-based company, and authorized by the Food and Drug Administration and New York’s Clinical Advisory Task Force late last week.

“We trust science here in New York. The federal government approved the vaccine. We then had a separate panel that also approved the vaccine and we’ve been following the science all along. I hope this gives you, and the healthcare workers who are battling this every day, a sense of security and safety and a little more confidence in doing your job once the second vaccine has been administered. In New York we prioritized healthcare workers at the top of the list to receive the vaccine, because we know that you are out there every day putting your lives in danger for the rest of us, so we want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to keep you safe. And the point about New Yorkers and Americans having to do their part and take the vaccine, because the vaccine only works if the American people take it,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

“Governor Cuomo, I’m feeling well. I would like to thank all the frontline workers, all my colleagues, who’ve been doing a yeoman’s job throughout this pandemic all over the world,” Lindsay said. “I am hopeful. I feel I hope today, relieved. I feel like healing is coming and this marks the beginning of the end of a very painful time in our history. I want to instill public confidence that the vaccine is safe. We’re in a pandemic and so we all need to do your part to put an end to the pandemic, and to not give up so soon. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we still need to continue to wear our masks, to social distance. I believe in science. As a nurse, my practice is guided by science and so I trust that. What I don’t trust is that, if I contract COVID, I don’t know how it would impact or those who I come in contact with, so I encourage everyone to take the vaccine.”

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards added, “More than 95,000 Queens residents have contracted COVID-19 over the past nine months, including more than 6,000 of our friends, neighbors and loved ones whom we’ve lost to this unforgiving virus. Today’s arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine will not lessen our collective pain, but today’s historic feat of science and medicine is the day we permanently altered the course of this pandemic — saving countless lives in the process. It is not lost on Queens — the epicenter of the epicenter of this pandemic, where communities of color were hit with starting severity — that a Black female healthcare hero administered New York State’s first dose of the vaccine to another Black female healthcare hero. As vaccines become more widely available, a just recovery from COVID-19 and the inequalities in our society it exposed means routing these life-saving inoculations toward our historically underserved and hardest hit communities.”


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