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First person in US to receive the COVID-19 vaccine is a New Yorker

Governor Andrew Cuomo's office

The first person in the U.S. to get the coronavirus vaccine is an ICU nurse in New York. The event was publicized on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s livestream, as witnesses cheered.

The nurse, Sandra Lindsay works in the critical care unit at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, located in Queens, and has for months, been on the front lines of the pandemic. She got the shot on the governor’s web feed, which was carried by the news channels live. Lindsay said she wants to instill public confidence that the vaccine is safe.

“I believe in science, as a nurse my practice is guided by science,” Lindsay said. “I trust science.”

She said people still need to practice safety precautions, though, like wearing masks and limiting in-person interactions.

Cuomo, who watched over Zoom, called the vaccine, “the weapon that will end the war.” But he said it only works if people take it.

“Every American has to do their part,” Cuomo said. “It's going to take months before the vaccine hits critical mass. So, this is the light at the end of the tunnel. But it’s a long tunnel."

The first doses go to emergency care medical professionals, and residents and staff at nursing homes. It could take until next summer for everyone who wants the vaccine to receive it.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.