A critical care nurse who has treated COVID-19 patients in New York City tirelessly for nearly 10 months became the first person in the US to receive the vaccine Monday as part of a campaign to immunize front-line health care workers.

Sandra Lindsay, a nurse and the director of patient services in the intensive care unit at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, received the shot at the Queens facility shortly before 9:30am this morning.

Onlookers were heard breaking out into applause as the shot was administered to the 52-year-old’s left arm, a historic moment that was streamed live as part of a news conference with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

‘I’ve been hopeful today. Relieved,’ Lindsay said after receiving the vaccine. ‘I feel like healing is coming. I hope this marks the beginning of the end in a very painful time in our history.’

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Born in Jamaica, Sandra Lindsay immigrated to the United States in 1986 to further her career in nursing

Lindsay, a nurse and the director of patient services in the intensive care unit at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, received the shot at the Queens facility shortly before 9:30am this morning

Lindsay, who has more than 26 years of experience as a medical professional, was born and raised in Jamaica West Indies. She immigrated to the United States in 1986 to further her education in nursing.

The 52-year-old first obtained her Bachelors of Science degree in nursing from St. Joseph’s College, in Brooklyn, before going on to get her Master’s in the field from the Bronx’s Herbert Lehman College. 

Lindsay first began working as a student nurse at the famed Lenox Hill Hospital, located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, in 1994.

In 2011 she was selected as a ‘top talent’ as part of North Shore Health’s High Potential Employee program.

She later became a nurse manager at the hospital, and was responsible for the daily operations of her unit as well as leadership, guidance and motivation to a ‘diverse staff of over 60 employees’, according to profile by New Yorkers for Children.

Lindsay left that position in March 2016 to work as Director of Patient Care Services in the critical care department of Long Island Jewish Medical Center.

Her brother, Garfield Lindsay, beamed with pride on social media that his ‘champ’ of a younger sister was the first American to receive the jab.

‘So proud of my younger sis for stepping up and taking the COVID-19 vaccine like a champ,’ Garfield Lindsay posted on Monday morning. ‘She has witnessed firsthand too many deaths and is leading by example by doing what’s necessary to beat this virus. First in the US, I think, so so proud.’

The 52-year-old received a Master’s in Nursing from the Bronx’s Herbert Lehman College and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from St. Joseph’s College, in Brooklyn

‘I’ve been hopeful today. Relieved,’ Lindsay said after receiving the vaccine. ‘I feel like healing is coming. I hope this marks the beginning of the end in a very painful time in our history’

Plaudits for the nurse also came forward in abundance on Twitter.

Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris thanked Lindsay for ‘all you have done for our country’.

Gov. Cuomo, meanwhile, credited Lindsay as showing the world ‘what heroes look like’.

‘Sandra Lindsay, an ICU Nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, became the FIRST AMERICAN to get vaccinated in a non-trial setting,’ Cuomo wrote. ‘Thank you Sandra and thank you Dr. Michelle Chester. #NewYorkTough’

Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton was also full of praise for Lindsay, calling her a ‘true American and public health hero’.

In a press conference staged immediately after her vaccination, Lindsay assured that the Pfizer shot ‘didn’t feel any different from taking any other vaccine.’

‘I want to instill public confidence that the vaccine is safe,’ she told reporters.

Shipments of the frozen vaccine vials began arriving at hospitals around the country first thing this morning so health care workers, as well as nursing home residents, can be the first to receive the shots in a bid to beat the pandemic that has claimed 299,163 American lives and infected more than 16.25 million.

The first of the vaccinations were administered on a day where the COVID-19 death toll approached the harrowing 300,000 milestone and cases and hospitalizations posted new record highs over the past week.

In a press conference staged immediately after her vaccination, Lindsay assured that the Pfizer shot ‘didn’t feel any different from taking any other vaccine’

Dr. Yves Duroseau, head of emergency medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital, became the second person – and first man – to receive the Pfizer vaccine Monday in New York.

WHO IS FIRST IN LINE FOR COVID VACCINE? 

First phase – starting now:

Health care workers

Nursing home and long-term care facility residents

Second phase – January 2021

Non health care essential workers

Over 70s

Over 65s

Over 60s

Over 50s

People with chronic health conditions

Later phases – by spring 2021

Young adults

Children

‘I’m very thankful for this moment,’ Duroseau told reporters. ‘This is a hopeful day.’

Duroseau encouraged Americans, especially those in high-risk communities, to get the vaccine as soon as it’s available to them.

‘I saw a lot of devastation. I saw it personally in my family,’ he said.

Duroseau revealed that in addition to a family member who is currently hospitalized with the virus, he reportedly had a ‘dear uncle’ who died of COVID-19.

‘It is very important to not fear the vaccination,’ he added. ‘We cannot continue to have 3,000 people die a day.’

Until the vaccine is more widely available, Duroseau said it’s crucial for Americans to continue social distancing, particularly over the holiday season.

‘We have to resist the temptations to gather,’ he urged.

Prior to working at Lenox Hill, Duroseau worked as the Director of Service in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Brooklyn’s Kings County Hospital.

Having been in practice for more than a decade, Duroseau previously worked as the Medical Director of the Department of Emergency Medicine and as an Attending Physician at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York City. 

Duroseau earned his medical degree and Master of Public Health degree at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Yves Duroseau, head of emergency medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital, became the second person – and first man – to receive the Pfizer vaccine Monday in New York

‘I’m very thankful for this moment,’ Duroseau told reporters after receiving the vaccine. ‘This is a hopeful day’

In November last year, he was among five physicians honored by Northwell Health as part of their Truly Awards, which recognize the impact doctors have made on their patients, families, communities and fellow team members. 

According the Northwell, Duroseau received the Truly Award for his mentorship, having ‘selflessly given his time and energy to help colleagues and others recognize their potential and achieve greatness.’

Duroseau has also been profiled by New York Magazine as part of its ‘Best Doctors’ series, in addition to guest authoring pieces about the coronavirus for the Wall Street Journal. 

In a post-vaccination press conference Monday, Duroseau said: ‘I wanted to be here, I was excited to be here. For myself, my family, my patients, for the community at large, for the world at large … We will concur this virus.’

The arrival of the vaccine in New York comes at a time of urgency with the state – once the US epicenter – currently confronting an emerging second wave of the virus after a relatively dormant summer.

The state recorded an average of 10,048 new cases every day across the last week, an increase on 72 percent from the 14 days prior. Hospitalizations are also reaching figures not since since the height of the pandemic in May.

‘This vaccine is exciting because I believe this is the weapon that will end the war,’ Cuomo said during a press conference Monday. ‘We have planes, trains and automobiles moving this all over the state right now. We want to get it deployed, and we want to get it deployed quickly.’

Elsewhere around the country, all 49 other US states received a share of 2.9 million initial doses of the Pfizer vaccine on Monday. Second and third waves of vaccine shipments are due to go out to the remaining sites on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The rolling out of the vaccine came as the US posted yet another round of harrowing statistics – with the seven-day rolling averages for new infections, hospitalizations and deaths reaching new highs yesterday.

In November last year, Duroseau (far right) was among five physicians honored by Northwell Health as part of their Truly Awards, which recognize the impact doctors have made on their patients, families, communities and fellow team members

In a post-vaccination press conference Monday, Duroseau said: ‘I wanted to be here, I was excited to be here. For myself, my family, my patients, for the community at large, for the world at large … We will concur this virus.’

 

The seven-day rolling average for deaths is now just over 2,400 per day. The death toll, which is just shy of 300,000, rose by 1,389 yesterday

There were 190,920 new cases recorded yesterday across the country. The seven-day rolling average for new infections is 213,687

More than 186,880 new cases were reported on Sunday as the seven-day average hit 211,494, according to the COVID Tracking Project. Hospitalizations climbed to 109,331 with a 106,656 seven-day average.

The number of new deaths on Sunday were at 1,482, bringing the seven-day average to a record high of 2,427. The US is now seeing 300 more fatalities every 24 hours than it was during the previous peak in April.

In the face of a devastating surge in all three metrics that mark the severity of the nation’s outbreak, health officials are pinning their hopes of bringing the virus to its knees with a vaccine.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar described today as ‘historic’ and said he’ll watch frontline health care workers get vaccinated in Washington DC.

‘I’m just excited that I’m going to get to see some frontline health care workers today, as part of the plan to George Washington Hospital vaccination, and get to see them getting vaccinated – some of the first people in the county,’ Azar told NBC’s Today.

Azar predicted that Americans will be able to just go into their pharmacy by late February to get a COVID-19 vaccine, similar to how the flu vaccine is administered.

‘I think we could be seeing that (general public vaccination) by late February going into March. It really, again, is going to be up to our nation’s governors, but with the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine, we’ll have, as I said, as many as 100 million shots in arms by the end of February.’

Lenox Hill Hospital, where Duroseau’s works and Lindsay once trained, was recently profiled in an eponymous Netflix series which chronicled the lives of four medical professionals in the areas of neurosurgery, emergency medicine, and obstetrics and gynecology.

Ranked among the nation’s top 50 hospitals, Beyoncé also gave birth to her daughter Blue Ivy at the medical facility in January 2012.



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