Does going first in what amounts to a global experiment in human health make you a hero? If it weren’t for the previous credentials of a young nurse named Sandra Lindsay, the answer would be an unqualified yes.
On Monday morning, Lindsay, an intensive care nurse at Northwell Health, was the first New Yorker, and one of the first people in the United States, to receive Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. She received the vaccine just before 9:30 a.m. at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, which was one of the downstate hospitals most overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients last spring.
Lindsay worked at one of the hospitals that might have been called ground zero of the coronavirus pandemic. About 100,000 COVID-19 patients have been treated at Northwell Health’s system of New York City hospitals and medical centers, with more than 3,500 virus patients in Northwell at the peak of the initial outbreak in April.
The pandemic landscape was a modern-day battlefield. That’s why the word ‘hero’ is appropriate for what Lindsay did for the last nine months. She put fear aside and stepped up every day, just as thousands of medical personnel did each day.
The vaccine’s arrival is reason to celebrate and it’s a special day in America’s history, but the pandemic is not over. Vaccine distribution is expected to take several months.
We have to continue to comply with safety standards. We must still wear face masks and continue to remain socially distanced from others.
We thank Sandra Lindsay and all the thousands of unnamed frontline workers who kept American society going from the Twin Counties to the Pacific Ocean. Monday was a day of hope and relief. It was also a day of gratitude.