A New York City intensive care unit nurse became the first person in the US to get coronavirus vaccination, a significant step in the country’s fight against the health crisis.
“Healing is coming,” said nurse Sandra Lindsay during Monday’s monumental event in the US’ fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Lindsay was inoculated at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York, an early epicenter of the country’s coronavirus outbreak. She received applause on a livestream with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
“I want to instill public confidence that the vaccine is safe,” she added.
Governor Cuomo posted on Twitter his appreciation for Lindsay and her courage to be the very first person in the country to be vaccinated.
Today, ICU nurse Sandra Lindsay made history as the first American to be vaccinated.— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) December 15, 2020
"I felt a huge sense of relief after I took the vaccine… There is hope." pic.twitter.com/45RWerTqdX
Select hospitals in other cities also saw the same scenes as the coronavirus vaccine, made by Pfizer and BioNTech, finally reached where there needed.
The made-for-TV events of the US vaccination were part of a broad campaign by health authorities in the US as well as political leaders to reassure Americans of the vaccine’s safety.
The initial doses have been reserved for healthcare professionals and nursing home residents, with essential workers, elderly people and individuals with chronic health conditions next in line.
By end of Monday, vaccine shipments had made it to nearly all of the 145 distribution sites pre-selected to receive the initial batch of doses.
US officials said there were no major hiccups reported during the distribution and vaccination.
As part of national security protocol aimed at ensuring continuity of government in the event of an emergency, senior leaders were also offered early vaccines.
Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller got his on Monday outside Washington. He was the first Cabinet-level official to be inoculated.
President Donald Trump, meanwhile announced on Twitter on Sunday that he was looking forward to doing the vaccine “at the appropriate time”.
“People working in the White House should receive the vaccine somewhat later in the program, unless specifically necessary. I have asked that this adjustment be made,” he wrote on Twitter.
The vaccine’s arrival provided hope as the US coronavirus death toll passed 300,000. A record of 109,000 patients reported to be hospitalized on Monday alone.
Last week, the country lost more than 17,000 people, the largest number since the beginning of the global pandemic.
More than half of US states have already imposed new lockdowns as many hospital intensive care units are nearly full.
The number of new coronavirus cases rose 15 percent to almost 1.6 million last week.
As it will still take months before vaccines become widely available to the public, health officials have warned Americans to remain diligent about social distancing and wearing of face masks to curb virus transmission.
The US Food and Drug Administration is scheduled to review the Modern vaccine this week, with emergency use expected to be granted shortly after.