NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The nation’s rollout of the COVID vaccine began Monday morning in Queens.
With the world watching, Sandra Lindsay made history when she got the shot at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. The location was significant – it’s one of the hardest hit areas of the state.
It came on the day the U.S. marks a milestone of loss. On Monday, we surpassed 300,000 deaths in the nation since the pandemic began.
As CBS2’s Alice Gainer reports, the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccinations have begun. Hospitals around the country started inoculating healthcare workers Monday. That included here in New York, and in Connecticut.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo says 10,000 people in the state are being vaccinated Monday. It’s being given in phased rollouts as shipments come in batches.
Doctors and nurses agreed to be filmed taking the shots Monday because they want to get the message out that everyone needs to do this when it’s your turn.
In a livestream, nurse Sandra Lindsay was the first person in New York to get the coronavirus vaccine. She didn’t flinch as the shot was administered by Dr. Michelle Chester.
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“She has a good touch and it didn’t feel any different from taking any other vaccine,” Lindsay said.
“I believe in science. As a nurse, my practice is guided by science. And so I trust science. What I don’t trust is, if I contract COVID, I don’t know how it’s going to impact me or those I come in contact with. So I encourage everyone to take the vaccine,” she added.
Lindsay, a critical care nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens – once the epicenter of the virus – has seen the worst of it.
“It’s safe to take the vaccine. I have seen the alternative. I do not want that for you,” she said.
Dr. Yves Duroseau was the second to get it.
“This is what’s going to save us,” he said.
“This is a special moment, a special day. This is what everyone has been waiting for,” he added. “To hopefully see this is the beginning of the end of the COVID issue.”
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Northwell Health estimates it will be well into January before its 54,000 priority employees, followed by another 18,000 vaccinated.
Monday, a total of five hospitals in New York City received shipments. At NYU Langone, frontline health care workers eagerly received the shot.
“Subsequent shipments are expected at 37 hospitals on Tuesday, and two more hospitals on Wednesday,” said New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi.
In Connecticut, health care workers rolled up their sleeves.
“I would never ask you to do something I would not be willing to do,” said Dr. Patrick Troy of Hartford Hospital.
By Dec. 21, shipments are expected to be distributed to nursing homes there.
New Jersey begins vaccinations Tuesday at University Hospital in Newark. Three batches are being delivered to the state this month.
“Of the 76,050 doses that we are getting today and tomorrow, about 20 thousand will go to long term care facilities,” said N.J. Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli.
Those who received the shot Monday will get a card and return in 21 days for the second shot.
Later this week, the FDA will decide whether to greenlight Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.
As for the first two volunteers, they hope to serve as examples to the public to take advantage of the life-saving treatment.
“I hope this marks the beginning to the end of a very painful time in our history. I want to instill public confidence that the vaccine is safe. We’re in a pandemic and so we all need to do our part to put an end to the pandemic and to not give up too soon. There’s light at the end of the tunnel, but we still need to continue to wear a mask, to social distance,” Lindsay said.
New York City’s vaccine control center also opened Monday in Lower Manhattan. It’s described as the air traffic control for the vaccine, and it will play a crucial part in making sure everything runs smoothly. At New York City’s command center, workers will be busy reporting the number of people getting vaccinated, with breakdowns on boroughs, demographic, age and other indicators.
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