The recipient of the first COVID-19 shot in the US is now a vaccine activist



She became a celebrity about vaccines by accident.

Since being hailed as the first person in the US to get a COVID-19 vaccine, New York nurse Sandra Lindsay has been a prominent face in the country’s largest-ever vaccination campaign. .

She’s advertised the photos on panels, in Zoom town halls, and at other events.

“I encourage people to talk to experts, who can answer their questions, to access credible science. I let them know that it’s okay to ask questions,” said Lindsay, who has spoken at events in the US and Jamaica, where she is from.

Lindsay was vaccinated at a widely televised time on December 14 last year when the United States was beginning its vaccination efforts. After being cleared for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration just days earlier, the first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine reached hospitals for high-risk healthcare workers.

It’s been a difficult time for Lindsay, who has seen the impact of COVID-19 at Northwell Health’s Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens.

“I just felt down, defeated, just tired and exhausted,” said Lindsay, director of critical care nursing at the hospital. “Witnessing loss of lives, loss of livelihood. ”

Northwell Health said it asked volunteers to get injections and that Lindsay ” happened to be at the forefront” of those who raised their hands. The moment was broadcast on TV and she is considered by many to be the first American to receive an injection outside of a clinical trial.

Since then, Lindsay has been recognized by President Biden as an “Outstanding American of Choice,” a program of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that recognizes naturalized citizens.

With the omicron variant emerging and new spikes across the country, Lindsay is still addressing fears and misinformation. Some people mistakenly believe that injections are not needed if they are eating well and exercising, says Lindsay. Others say the vaccine is a way for the government to track people or a trial on Black people.

She said she acknowledges mistrust in communities of color, rooted in past history. But she reassured everyone by noting that she did her own research before shooting and had protective measures in place.

“We have had millions and millions of people around the world vaccinated without any significant side effects,” she said.

She also emphasizes that getting vaccinated helps protect others.

Some anxiety, such as fear of needles, can be easier to deal with, she says.

After the children were eligible for vaccinations, Lindsay offered comfort to a 9-year-old girl who was being vaccinated at the hospital. She had to turn down the girl’s request for vaccinations because she’s not a pediatric nurse but offered to hold her hand – and did.

Later, Lindsay received a letter from the girl telling how much this gesture meant.

Looking back, Lindsay said she’s grateful for the role she was able to play: “It’s been so rewarding to hear people come up to me and say, ‘Thank you so much. You inspired me to get vaccinated. “

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Aila Slisco

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