Photo: Sandra Lindsay, left, a registered nurse and Director of Critical Care at Northwell Health, receives the COVID-19 vaccine during a live conference with Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. – December 14, 2020 – Queens, NY (Scott Heins for the Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)
By Mary Campbell
The light at the end of the tunnel is near. The COVID-19 vaccine is here. Sandra Lindsay, a critical-care nurse for more than 20 years, created history by becoming the first person in the United States to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Governor Cuomo broadcasted Lindsay’s shot’s video feed into a news conference. The needle that went into her arm contained genetic instructions that would prime her cells to recognize and defend against the coronavirus. “This is the weapon that will end the war,” Cuomo said shortly after her shot.
Speaking to the media, Lindsay, who works in the Intensive Care Unit at Long Island Jewish Medical Hospital in New York, is Jamaican and urges her countryfolk to get it. Her message: “My hope is that this is the beginning of the end of the pandemic. I have seen what it has done and what it is doing to our people, and I just want it to be over.”
Having seen first-hand the suffering and pain COVID-19 has caused in New York, Lindsay said she was ready to get her shot. She confirmed that she was not pressured or paid but volunteered because she desires to see this pandemic end.
“I feel the healing is coming. I hope this marks the beginning of the end of the very painful time in our history,” said Lindsay.
Lindsay added that it was essential for her to as a Black woman, to take the vaccine as an example to those who distrust the medical system because of historical wrongdoing or sufferings from medical racism. “Unfortunately, due to history, my population — minorities, people that look like me — are hesitant to take vaccines,” she said. She wants to send a message that science can be trusted. She pointed out that the vaccinations won’t work “if only some people take the vaccines.”
It is historic also that a Black woman, Dr. Michelle Chester, director of employee services for Northwell Health, administered the injection.