New York nurse turns into first US citizen to obtain COVID-19 vaccine as largest rollout in nation’s historical past begins

New York nurse turns into first US citizen to obtain COVID-19 vaccine as largest rollout in nation’s historical past begins


Frontline nurse Sandra Lindsay was administered the shot developed by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, in Long Island Jewish Medical Center, in Queens on Monday.

New York nurse becomes first US citizen to receive COVID-19 vaccine as largest rollout in country's history begins

Sandra Lindsay, left, a nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, is inoculated with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine by Dr. Michelle Chester, Monday, 14 December in the Queens borough of New York. AP

A critical care nurse became the first person to be administered a vaccine against COVID-19 on Monday as the biggest vaccination drive in American history got underway.

The development comes as the country nears the grim milestone of nearly 3,00,000 deaths due to the novel coronavirus infection.

Frontline nurse Sandra Lindsay was administered the shot developed by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, in Long Island Jewish Medical Center, in Queens on Monday.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo said the pandemic has been horrific. “It was a modern-day battlefield and that’s why the word heroes is so appreciate for what you did. The vaccine is the weapon that will end the war. It is the beginning of the last chapter of the book,” Cuomo said just before Lindsay was given the vaccination, reported news agency PTI.

Cuomo clapped as he watched Lindsay take the vaccination shot. Lindsay said she feels hopeful and relieved and healing is coming.

“I hope this marks the beginning of the end of a very painful time in our history,” she said.

She added that she wants to build confidence in the public that the vaccine is safe.

She stressed that while there is light at the end of the tunnel, people still need to continue to wear their masks, maintain social distance and encouraged everyone to take the vaccine.

US president Donald Trump too shared the news on Twitter, saying  “Congratulations USA! Congratulations WORLD!”

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allowed the emergency authorisation of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Friday.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said he would be among those getting a vaccine. “People will believe much more in the vaccine if the CEO is getting vaccinated,” he told CNN on Monday.

According to news agency AP, first injections were also given at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center and at the Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans. Other hospitals around the country, from Rhode Island to Texas, too, unloaded precious frozen vials of the Pfizer vaccine with staggered deliveries set throughout Monday and Tuesday.

New York nurse becomes first US citizen to receive COVID19 vaccine as largest rollout in countrys history begins

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz inspects the first delivery of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to the Minneapolis VA Hospital as FedEx driver Seth Warnecke carries the box on Monday, 14 December. AP

Several other countries also have authorized the vaccine, including Britain, which started vaccinating people last week. However, regulators in Britain are investigating a few severe allergic reactions. The FDA’s instructions also tell providers not to give it to those with a known history of severe allergic reactions to any of its ingredients.

The first trucks carrying the COVID-19 vaccine for widespread use in the US pulled out of a Pfizer manufacturing plant in Michigan on Sunday, en route to 636 predetermined locations, amid a botched government response that has made the US the worst-hit country in the world.

With the winter holidays still ahead, experts warn that the pandemic could continue to get worse before the larger public receives the vaccination, as per news agency PTI.

State and local authorities make their own decisions on who gets vaccinated and when. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that frontline health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities get the vaccine first.

To be fully effective, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is given as two shots administered 21 days apart. A two-dose regimen of the vaccine has an efficacy of 95 percent in people ages 16 and older, though the FDA briefing documents also note that the vaccine appears to provide “some protection” against COVID-19 after just one dose.

Despite the positive news on the vaccine front, the US is still battling overcrowded hospitals and record-breaking daily case count as the nation nears another sad milestone, 3,00,000 deaths. As of 13 December, more than 16 million cases have been confirmed in the US.

With inputs from agencies

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