Sandra Lindsay, an ICU nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, New York City, was administered the vaccine during a live video event at about 9:20 a.m. ET on Monday. Dr. Michelle Chester, the corporate director of employee health services at Northwell Health, delivered the shot.
“She has a good touch, and it didn’t feel any different than taking any other vaccine,” Lindsay said immediately afterward.
“I’m feeling well. I would like to thank all the frontline workers, all my colleagues who have been doing a yeoman’s job to fight this pandemic all over the world,” she said. “I feel hopeful today, relieved. I feel like healing is coming. I hope this marks the beginning of the end of a very painful time in our history.”
Lindsay and Chester, both Black women, were flanked on stage by Michael Dowling, the president and CEO of Northwell Health. He noted that Queens had once been the epicenter of Covid-19 in the spring and has treated over 100,000 patients with Covid-19.
“This is a special moment, a special day. This is what everybody has been waiting for,” he said.
Still, Lindsay is among the the first to get a shot of the vaccine now that the FDA approved it for emergency use and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave the OK for it be administered to people 16 and older.
States beginning vaccines today
The first batch of the vaccine was shipped out from a Pfizer plant in Portage, Michigan, on Sunday headed for over 600 sites across all 50 states. The first deliveries arrived to the University of Michigan, George Washington University Hospital in Washington, DC, and more locations on Monday morning.
State and local authorities make their own decisions on who gets vaccinated and when. The CDC has recommended that frontline health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities get the vaccine first.
US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar plans to see some frontline health care workers get vaccinated at George Washington Hospital, he told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie on “Today.”
“If you are recommended to get it and it’s available for you, oh, please do get it. Protect yourself and protect those around you. Please get the vaccine,” Azar said.
The landmark arrival of the vaccine comes at a critical time. The US reported over 109,000 people hospitalized with Covid-19 as of Sunday, the highest number in the pandemic and the 12th consecutive day that more than 100,000 people have been hospitalized because of the deadly virus.
CNN’s Ben Tinker contributed to this report.