A nurse in New York City was the first U.S. citizen to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine Monday morning, after the vaccine was approved by the FDA’s emergency authorization on Friday night.
The recipient was Sandra Lindsay, an intensive-care nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens. The moment was live-streamed, and Lindsay said that she hoped her public vaccination would instill confidence in New Yorkers that the shots were safe.
“I feel like healing is coming,” she said. “I hope this marks the beginning of the end of a very painful time in our history.”
Health care workers and nursing home residents will be first in line to receive the vaccine. The long-anticipated vaccine roll-out will then shift to other higher risk individuals. It will likely be late spring or early summer 2021 by the time younger, healthier people will get access to a vaccine.
The news comes as the United States experiences an unprecedented surge in new COVID cases daily. Over the past week, there has been an average of 210,112 cases per day, an increase of 30 percent from the average two weeks earlier.
This week, the U.S. will pass 300,000 deaths from COVID-19, more than in any other country. On Wednesday, Dec. 9, alone, the country experienced more than 3,000 deaths.
That’s why the vaccine deployment today is so significant.
“I believe this is the weapon that will end the war,” New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said at a news conference Monday morning.