Just nine months after the United States became a part of the global coronavirus pandemic, health workers across the nation have begun administering a vaccine to halt the spread of COVID-19. This morning, critical care nurse Sandra Lindsay became the first person in the U.S. to receive the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech when she was injected at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York.
“I feel hopeful today, relieved,” said Lindsay after receiving the shot, according to NBC news. “I feel the healing is coming. I hope this marks the beginning of the end of the very painful time in our history.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo livestreamed the event which took place at a time when COVID-19 cases are continuing to spike across the country. Experts blame what Ali Mokdad, a professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle, described to the AP as“ a surge above the existing surge,” on the Thanksgiving holiday. The death toll in the United States hit 300,000 at the end of last week with more than 16.7 million cases diagnosed overall. “Quite honestly, it’s a warning sign for all of us,” Mokdad said.
As he watched Lindsay receive her shot this morning, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo stated, “This is the light at the end of the tunnel. But it’s a long tunnel.”
According to ABC news, the first of the nearly 3 million doses of the vaccine packed in dry ice were shipped in staggered batches from Pfizer’s Kalamazoo, Michigan, factory Sunday. “More of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will arrive each week. And later this week, the FDA will decide whether to green light the world’s second rigorously studied COVID-19 vaccine, made by Moderna Inc.,” the outlet reported.
Healthcare workers are first in line for the vaccine which has raised brows among many everyday citizens, leery of potential side effects. The Black community has been especially cautious when it comes to the vaccine due to the complicated history that exists with the medical industry. Dr. Anthony Fauci attempted to ease those concerns during a National Urban League event last week when he pointed out that a Black woman — Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett— created the vaccine.
Across the nation, Black leaders are attempting to build trust in the vaccine among African Americans, making the choice of Lindsay to be the first recipient of the shot today likely no coincidence. Only time will tell whether such efforts were effective.