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First COVID-19 Vaccine Administered in New York to Nurse in NYC
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Sandra Lindsay, a nurse in Queens, receives the first vaccine.
Sandra Lindsay, a nurse in Queens, receives the first vaccine.
Credit: Gov. Cuomo's Office

COVID-19 in New York State

A critical care nurse at a hospital in Queens was the first person in New York to receive a vaccine for COVID-19 on Monday, marking a critical turning point in the fight against the virus as cases and hospitalizations from the disease continue to rise.

Sandra Lindsay, a nurse at Long Island Jewsih Medical Center in Queens, received the first of two injections required for the vaccination on Monday.

“I feel hopeful today, relieved. I feel like healing is coming,” Lindsay said. “I hope this marks the beginning of the end of a very painful ime in our history.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo joined a livestream of the event, celebrating the first vaccination against the virus in New York, which has experienced more deaths related to COVID-19 than any other state in the country.

As of Monday, more than 35,000 deaths had been recorded in New York from COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University.

“I know how horrific it was. It was a modern day battlefield,” Cuomo said before Lindsay received the vaccine. “What you do, showing up every day, you really are heroes.”

The first of thousands of doses of the vaccine arrived in New York Monday after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved it for public use over the weekend. New York is expected to receive 170,000 doses of the first vaccine, developed by Pfizer.

Another 346,000 doses of a different version of the vaccine developed by Modera are expected to arrive in the state next week, Cuomo told reporters last week. Both vaccines have touted efficacy rates above 90%.

Lindsay said she wanted to relay to the public that the vaccine was safe, and that it would be an important step toward the end of the pandemic.

“I want to instill public confidence that the vaccine is safe. We're in a pandemic, so we all need to do our part to put an end to the pandemic, and to not give up so soon,” Lindsay said. “There’s light at the end of the tunnel.”

Nursing home residents and health care workers, particularly those at risk of contracting the virus, will be first to receive the vaccine in New York, per the state’s plan for distributing the inoculation.

It will then be administered to frontline workers and other individuals considered to be high-risk of contracting the disease. The general population isn’t expected to receive the vaccine for at least a few months, but an exact timeline will depend on the supply of the injection.

Cuomo’s launched a campaign in recent months to urge members of the public to trust the vaccine, which has been criticized at times for being rushed through the clinical process during a contentious election year.

He repeated again, Monday, that the vaccine will only be effective against the pandemic if a large share of the public receives it.

“It’s going to take months before the vaccine hits critical mass,” Cuomo said. “So, this is the light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s a long tunnel and we need people to continue to do the right thing and the smart thing all through the holiday season.”

The latest data, reported by the state Sunday, showed more than 5,400 people hospitalized with the virus in New York — more than ten times the number recorded in August.


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