History-making Jamaican Nurse Receives Second Shot of COVID-19 Vaccine

The American coronavirus vaccination program began Dec. 14 with New York critical care nurse Sandra Lindsay. (MARK LENNIHAN/AFP/TNS)

The Jamaican-born registered nurse, who created history on December 14 by becoming the first person in the United States to get the COVID-19 vaccine, received her second dose on Monday.

Sandra Lindsay, 52, an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, New York, on Monday morning received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that is deemed 95 percent effective.

“It feels like I’ve completed the cycle, closed the loop, so to speak, by receiving the second dose,” said Lindsay after receiving the shot from Guyanese-born Dr. Michelle Chester, New York’s Northwell Health Director of Employee Health Services.

Dr. Chester was the same clinician who administered the first dose to Lindsay, a front-line health care worker, who was eligible to receive the vaccine under Phase 1 of New York’s Vaccine Distribution Plan. 

The vaccine was developed by New York-based pharmaceutical company Pfizer and authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and New York’s Clinical Advisory Task Force late last week.

“The last 21 days has been quite busy educating, inspiring, encouraging people to trust the science, get informed and get vaccinated,” Lindsay said.

“I had no idea I was going to be the first in New York state, the first in the country, and that it would generate all this attention.” 

After receiving the first vaccine on December 14, she said she wanted to “instill public confidence that the vaccine is safe.” 

Addressing a video conference with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Lindsay said she was glad to do her 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,” she said. 

“I believe in science,” Lindsay stressed. “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,” Lindsay continued. “So, I encourage everyone to take the vaccine.”

On Monday, Cuomo announced the latest prioritization for New Yorkers eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. 

He said eligibility is being expanded to include all outpatient/ambulatory front-line, high-risk health care workers who provide direct in-person patient care, as well as all public health care workers who provide direct in-person care, including those who conduct COVID-19 tests and handle lab specimens.

Beginning this week, the governor said eligibility will also be expanded to include home care workers, hospice workers, and nursing home and other congregate setting workers who have yet to receive a vaccine through the US federal nursing home vaccination program. 

“While we’re trying to control COVID with one hand, we’re trying to defeat it with the other; and the vaccine is the weapon that will win this war,” he said. “Getting this vaccine out is going to be the single greatest operation government has ever had to accomplish, and we’re taking bold actions to ensure it is delivered swiftly and equitably for all New Yorkers.

CMC

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