A Queens critical care nurse will be honored for the second time at the White House this week.
Sandra Lindsay, who became the first person in the United States to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus in December 2020, was named as one of the 17 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values or security of the United States, world peace or other significant societal, public or private endeavors.
President Joe Biden will present the awards at the White House on Thursday, July 7.
The 17 recipients “have overcome significant obstacles to achieve impressive accomplishments in the arts and sciences, dedicated their lives to advocating for the most vulnerable among us and acted with bravery to drive change in their communities — and across the world — while blazing trails for generations to come,” according to a White House statement released Friday.
Lindsay will be joining fellow Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients including the most decorated American gymnast in American history Simone Biles, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Apple founder Steve Jobs, Gold Star father Khizr Khan, former AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, Olympic gold medalist, and two-time Women’s World Cup champion Megan Rapinoe and Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington, among other heroes.
Born and raised in Jamaica in the Caribbean, Lindsay moved to the United States in 1986. She serves as the director of nursing critical care at Northwell Health’s Long Island Jewish Medical Center, where she was the first to volunteer to take the inoculation outside of clinical trials and remains an outspoken advocate for vaccines and mental health for health care workers.
Lindsay was honored during a White House ceremony one year ago when President Biden recognized her as an “Outstanding American by Choice,” a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services program that recognizes citizens who have been naturalized. The president chronicled how she arrived in Queens as an 18-year-old, got her college degree at CUNY, a degree in nursing, a master’s degree and then her doctorate, and then Biden had a special announcement.
“Sandra’s vaccination card and hospital scrubs and the badge she wore will be included in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History exhibit on COVID-19,” Biden said. “Sandra, thank you for representing the very best of us.”