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Meet Sandra Lindsay, the primary US particular person to get COVID-19 vaccine


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  • Sandra Lindsay, a crucial care nurse in New York Metropolis who was the primary particular person within the US to get the COVID-19 vaccine, shared her expertise with Enterprise Insider.
  • Lindsay mentioned she volunteered to get the vaccine as quickly as she heard about it as a result of she knew it could “put an finish” to the pandemic. 
  • The nurse, initially from Jamaica, mentioned she felt it was necessary to “instill confidence” in individuals who appear like her to get vaccinated.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Sandra Lindsay knew the minute she heard about COVID-19 vaccines that she needed to be first in line to get one.

Lindsay, a New York Metropolis nurse, received her want. She grew to become the first person within the US vaccinated towards COVID-19 outdoors of scientific trials on Monday.

Lindsay has been a crucial care nurse for greater than 26 years. She presently works because the director for crucial care on the Lengthy Island Jewish Medical Middle in Queens, New York, managing all intensive care models on the hospital. 

Lindsay didn’t know she could be the primary particular person to get vaccinated till Monday, however mentioned she needed to “lead by instance” and sign to People that they will put an finish to the pandemic.

“As a minority, I needed to instill confidence in my folks that appear like me to say that it’s secure, be guided by science, do not be afraid,” Lindsay mentioned. 

Learn extra: Meet the 19 key scientists, executives, and leaders responsible for pushing coronavirus vaccines across the finish line

In an interview with Enterprise Insider, Lindsay described what it means for a nurse to obtain the primary COVID-19 vaccine, and what it was wish to work in Queens, an epicenter of the outbreak, again in March. Lindsay additionally gives her recommendation on why those that could also be on the fence ought to belief the vaccine, and the way she felt when she obtained it. 

Right here is our Q&A with the primary particular person within the US to get a COVID-19 vaccine outdoors of crucial care:

Questions and responses have been evenly edited for readability

Allana Akhtar: What impressed you to change into a nurse and go into healthcare?

Sandra Lindsay: I grew up in Jamaica with my grandmother being my caretaker. She had some well being points and so I might assist her when it comes to administering her drugs. I knew again then that I needed to be a nurse. And so after I migrated right here, I simply pursued my dream. 

AA: When did you migrate?

SL: I migrated right here in 1986.

AA: What was your expertise like as a nurse through the pandemic?

Oh, it was tiring. It was darkish. It was painful to see the struggling. We simply labored lengthy hours attempting to save lots of lives. Because the director, I led a staff of nurses [and] assist workers, and simply working alongside them, seeing the ache and the braveness and the worry of their eyes as they go about their each day duties was very exhausting for me.

What was the largest problem for you through the peak of the pandemic and in New York Metropolis at your hospital?

Maintaining with the quantity and in addition experiencing all of the struggling and the dying that was occurring round me and in addition seeing how exhausting workers was working to save lots of lives.

sandra lindsay nurse covid vaccine

Nurse Annabelle Jimenez, left, congratulates nurse Sandra Lindsay after she is inoculated with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

AP Picture/Mark Lennihan, Pool

What was your expertise when it comes to listening to in regards to the vaccine?

The minute I heard in regards to the vaccine, simply watching the information and heard that Pfizer and different firms have been working diligently to create a vaccine, I mentioned to my family and friends that I might be first in line to take it. I used to be simply finished seeing all of the struggling and the ache and know that that is what we have to put an finish to this pandemic. It was simply necessary for me to take it.

So I mentioned brazenly to everybody, together with my leaders in my hospital, that I might volunteer to take it. I did not wish to wait. I needed to steer by instance. As a minority, I needed to instill confidence in my folks that appear like me, to say that it’s secure, be guided by science, do not be afraid.

How did you get a vaccine appointment?

Being that I’m at excessive danger due to the world I work in, in crucial care, we are the high tier prioritized group. Everybody knew that I needed to take the vaccine, I had no hesitation to take it, so it was scheduled pretty shortly.

Do you know you have been going to be the primary particular person in New York to get the vaccine?

I had no concept till at present that I used to be the primary particular person within the nation to get the vaccine.

How did you’re feeling whenever you knew you have been going to be the primary particular person?

I used to be excited, however largely for what it means, what it signifies. It signifies hope, it signifies aid, it signifies therapeutic, it signifies the start of the top of a really darkish time for us. So it was thrilling for me.

How did it really feel to get the vaccine? Was there any ache?

It did not really feel any totally different from after I received the flu vaccine two months in the past, as a matter of truth, I did not even understand it was completed. You discover on digicam, I did not transfer. It was a bit pinch.

I nonetheless haven’t got ache in my arm, a number of hours later. 

Was that in keeping with your expectations?

I did not know what to anticipate, however once more, I used to be not fearful. I am extra petrified of getting COVID-19 and doubtlessly spreading it to individuals than I’m of taking the vaccine.

Learn extra: New document shows all the details of the $908 billion bipartisan coronavirus stimulus in the works

What does it imply to you that Queens was the primary place to vaccinate healthcare staff, because it was the epicenter of the virus again in March, April?

I feel it is monumental that Queens was hit so closely after which that is the primary place that we administered the primary vaccine. I feel that is incredible. And it, you already know, it makes me really feel very proud to be a healthcare employee and in addition that our efforts have been acknowledged.

What does it imply to you {that a} nurse was the primary particular person to get vaccinated?

I’m simply tremendous proud to characterize nursing and characterize all of the nurses all throughout the nation, all the world over, which were working tirelessly to save lots of lives. It is a proud second for me to be a nurse.

What does it imply to you to be a minority girl, a Black girl, and an immigrant to get the vaccine?

I am grateful to have the chance. I hope everybody all over the world has this identical alternative. And I hope that in my neighborhood, the minority neighborhood, individuals will not be discouraged. We’d like everybody to take the vaccine. We have to eradicate the pandemic. And this is without doubt one of the solely methods that we’ll eliminate COVID-19 and to get again to a point of normalcy.

sandra lindsay rn covid vaccine

Sandra Lindsay mentioned she felt excited when she came upon she’d be the primary particular person to obtain the vaccine. “It signifies the start of the top of a really darkish time for us.”

Northwell Well being

Did you speak to your loved ones after getting the vaccine and what was their response?

They’re very pleased with me. They weren’t shocked that now that the vaccine is right here, I might have volunteered to get it first. They’re extraordinarily pleased with me.

What are you most trying ahead to as soon as we attain herd immunity?

To embrace no matter the brand new regular is in my life. I’ve simply been extraordinarily grateful to be alive, to be working alongside my staff on the frontlines for therefore many months caring for COVID sufferers. I’m grateful to be wholesome, by no means [to have] received COVID-19.

Why ought to individuals belief the vaccine?

They need to belief the vaccine as a result of it is guided by science. They need to ask questions, seek the advice of their healthcare supplier, have their checklist of questions that they wish to ask in order that they really feel comfy, and simply hearken to the consultants.

Learn extra: Inside the powerful political machines that COVID-19 vaccine makers Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca have built in DC

How do you see the subsequent few months taking part in out as extra individuals begin to get vaccinated?

I hope that we’ll see much less dying. I hope that we’ll, within the coming months, restore public well being and security.

Is there anything you need individuals to know?

I simply wish to actually give an enormous due to everybody I work with, my Northwell household, my LIJ household, my crucial care household, and to everybody who supported us through the peak of the pandemic, the entire journey nurses who left their households all throughout the nation, gave up their jobs to come back and assist us. I’m tremendously grateful to all of them.

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