Queens health care worker is first New Yorker to receive FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine

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Mark Lennihan/Pool via REUTERS

It’s finally here.

The first dose of the vaccine outside of a medical trial was distributed to an essential worker at Northwell Health on Monday at Long Island Jewish Medical Center after the first 170,000 doses were shipped to New York state on Sunday.

Sandra Lindsey, a nurse who has worked to end the COVID-19 pandemic, was the first healthcare worker to be injected over live satellite feed. Dr. Michelle Chester administered the shot.

“This vaccine is exciting because I believe this is the weapon that will end the war. It’s the beginning of the last chapter of the book,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said during the ceremony.

Northwell CEO Michael Dowling, acknowledging the heavy load staff at the hospital have taken on, considering Queens was one of the most COVID-19 infected counties in the state during the height of the first wave.

“Here at Northwell, you know, we’ve seen well over 100,000 COVID patients. And at one point back in April we had over 3,500 patients in our hospitals. And as you said we are the largest health system in New York and we are very, very proud of our frontline staff,” Dowling said. “This is what everybody has been waiting for. To be able to give the vaccine, and to hopefully see it this is the beginning of the end of the COVID issue.”

The 170,000 doses will be doled out to 72,000 at-risk healthcare staff and long-term care facility residents across the state.

After receiving the vaccine to applause from those in attendance at LIJ, Lindsey said she felt good, and hopeful that this would be the beginning of a time of healing.

“I feel hopeful today, relieved. I feel like healing is coming. I hope this marks the beginning of the end of the very painful time in our history,” she said. “I want to instill public confidence that the vaccine is safe. We’re in a pandemic, and to not give up so soon. … I believe in science, as a nurse. My practice is guided by science, and so I trust science.”

This story originally appeared on amny.com

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