New York, Dec 14 (efe-epa).- New York City authorities selected a nurse from the African-American community, one of the hardest hit groups by the coronavirus pandemic, and from the borough of Queens, one of the areas where Covid-19 has taken the most lives in the nation, to be the first person in that state to receive the vaccine against the often deadly virus.
New York continues to be the state that has suffered the most deaths from the coronavirus, even as the pandemic surges across the country.
Critical care nurse Sandra Lindsay, who works at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center, received the first dose of the vaccine at 9:23 am on Monday.
“I hope this marks the beginning to the end of a very painful time in our history,” said the nurse after receiving the vaccine developed by the Pfizer pharmaceutical firm and approved for distribution by US government regulators last Friday in a virtually unprecedented acceleration of such authorization, which under “normal” circumstances can take several years.
Seated in a chair, along with a female doctor – also African-American – who administered the vaccine injection to her, Lindsay said she wanted to thank all the so-called “front line” workers around the world who, like her, have fought, and continue to fight, against the coronavirus, which in New York has taken more than 35,000 lives, most of them during the first wave of the pandemic last spring.
She said she wanted to give the public confidence that the vaccine is safe, insisting that she believes in the science that went into its development and that her own work with patients in the hospital’s critical care unit is guided by science to ensure the best possible health outcomes.
After receiving her injection, Lindsay told reporters she felt “hopeful and relieved” to have finally gotten inoculated against Covid-19, adding “It didn’t feel any different from taking any other vaccine.”
The administration of the vaccine took place while New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo witnessed it via direct telephone connection, at times acting as the emcee for the event.
“I believe this is the weapon that will end the war. This is the beginning of the last chapter of the book,” said Cuomo moments before Lindsay received her shot.
Cuomo, who thanked health professionals and front line workers for their efforts, saying that there was no doubt that they were “heroes” and insisting that it is his wish to distribute the vaccine to everyone who wants it as quickly as possible.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump – who has claimed that a Covid vaccine would have taken “five years” to be developed, had he not been president – posted the following message on his Twitter account: “First Vaccine Administered. Congratulations USA! Congratulations WORLD!”
The Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed has helped to speed up distribution and production of Covid-19 vaccines by working with pharmaceutical companies and distribution networks.
The vaccine developed by Pfizer was the first – of several that have been going through speedy clinical trials – to get emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration.
The Moderna pharmaceutical firm has also applied for similar authorization for its vaccine and it is anticipated that it, too, will receive such authorization later this week.