The first doses of the coronavirus vaccine, rushed into distribution because of the extreme impact of the coronavirus pandemic, was administered to frontline healthcare workers on Monday (Dec. 14). It’s an effort to protect them and everyone else from further risk of contracting the disease.
A Black registered nurse at New York’s Long Island Jewish Medical Center is amongst one of the first people in the state to receive the vaccine, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“I would like to thank all the frontline workers, all my colleagues who’ve been doing a yeoman’s job to fight this pandemic all over the world,” said Sandra Lindsay, RN, who has treated COVID-19 patients, after she took her shot during a livestream with Cuomo. “I feel hopeful today, relieved. I feel like healing is coming. I hope this marks the beginning of the end of a very painful time in our history.”
Lindsay said she wanted to instill public confidence that the vaccine is safe to take. The injection of the vaccine she received was manufactured by Pfizer, which reported results from vaccine trials just last month. Other pharmaceutical companies including Moderna and AstraZeneca have also developed vaccines which they say have as much as 95 percent efficacy.
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Pfizer began shipping out the vaccine from its facility in Kalamazoo, Mich., to locations across the nation on Sunday to then be distributed to frontline workers like Lindsay who are exposed to COVID-19 patients daily. In the coming weeks, people living in nursing homes are expected to receive the next priority of doses.
The distribution began after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave an emergency authorization of Pfizer’s Bio-N-Tech vaccine on Friday. Availability of vaccines is expected to increase over the next few months with most Americans having access to them in the spring of 2021.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, more than 16 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with coronavirus. 299,000 have died of it. Globally, 72 million have contracted the disease, and it has killed 1.6 million people.
For the latest on the coronavirus, check out BET’s blog on the virus, and contact your local health department or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Photo: Northwell Health (Screengrab)