Sandra Lindsay, RN, of Northwell Health completes her vaccination 21 days after receiving her first dose of Pfizer’s vaccine
On December 14, 2020, Sandra Lindsay, RN was the first person in the United States to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. Exactly 21 days after receiving America’s first injection of the FDA-approved Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, Sandra Lindsay, RN, on Monday, January 4, 2021, received the all-important second shot to lock in immunity against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The Pfizer vaccine, which needs to be stored in ultra-cold freezers, has been deemed 95 percent effective after the second dose. Ms. Lindsay was vaccinated at the hospital where she oversees all intensive care patients, one of the hardest-hit by COVID-19. The second dose was administered by Michelle Chester, DNP, Northwell Health’s director of employee health services, the same clinician who gave first shot seen round the world.
“The goal is to move as quickly as possible, as effectively as possible and as equitably as possible,” said Michael Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health. He lauded Ms. Lindsay for being first and serving as an example for co-workers and the general public. “I want to thank Sandra for everything she has done to promote the idea of vaccination because that’s extremely important.”
Northwell, the largest health system in New York State, has treated more hospitalized COVID-19 patients than anywhere in the United States since March when the pandemic first exploded throughout the Metro New York region. Northwell has inoculated more than 26,000 employees with both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines since mid-December with plans to vaccinate the entire health system by the end of January.
“I know that we’re not out of the woods yet,” said Ms. Lindsay, a critical care manager at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. “We don’t yet have herd immunity, but the burden feels much lighter today. I’m very grateful to receive this vaccine in the first place.”
Ms. Lindsay became a global sensation on December 14, 2020, when she was shown receiving the first Pfizer dose in the United States as part of a video conference call with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Protecting hospital staff as COVID-19 surges into the new year is vital to ensure the continuous, quality care of patients.
Northwell Health is inoculating employees using a three-phase prioritization matrix to help deploy the vaccine to its 75,000 team members. The plan factors in a person’s work/geographic area, department specialty, job function, and age.
More than 38,000 lives have been lost to COVID-19 across New York State since the beginning of the pandemic.
“We are coordinating with other hospitals, county executives, and other agencies in Nassau and Suffolk counties to set up vaccination sites,” Mr. Dowling said. “Northwell alone has 15 vaccination sites right now. Our goal is to accelerate the vaccination process, get as many people as possible to be vaccinated, communicate with the public, and ensure that we use us all the vaccine that we get.”